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March 15, 2017updated 16 Mar 2017 10:36am

Daily Mail Brexit coverage praised as it is named Press Awards Newspaper of the Year for 2016

By Freddy Mayhew

The Daily Mail was named Newspaper of The Year at the Press Awards last night for its “strong and provocative voice”, campaigning journalism and shaping of the national conversation, judges said.

It is the second time the newspaper has taken the top prize at the Press Awards since the event was launched by the Society of Editors in 2010. Last year the Daily Mail’s sister title, the Mail on Sunday, took the accolade.

Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre is pictured above (centre) receiving the prize.

Judges said the Mail had “dominated the narrative and produced agenda-setting and stand out coverage in 2016”.

They added: “In the seismic year of Brexit, the battle for No.10 and campaigning journalism, the winner had its finger on the pulse of the national conversation.

“Not only did it shape both the agenda and the narrative it reflected the temper of a large part of the country in a year of political upheaval. It was a must-read across the political and public spectrum and its strong and provocative voice never wavered.

“From crusading reports on press freedom to Brexit, the Sepsis scandal, the madness of drivers using mobile phones, wasteful foreign aid spending, betrayal of Afghan interpreters, the harm caused by ‘plastic poison’ and the battle to end the witch-hunt against British troops, the conviction of the paper’s commentary and campaigning in 2016 was matched only by its energy.

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“It is also never afraid to have a strong opinion.”

The Daily Mail campaigned strongly for Brexit in its comment pages and choice of editorial coverage in the run up to the 23 June referendum on leaving the European Union.

Other big winners at the awards, held at the Hilton on Park Lane, London, were The Times, Financial Times, The Sunday Times and The Guardian.

Times reporter Rachel Sylvester was named political journalist of the year for the second year in a row and took home scoop of the year for her interview with Conservative party leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom in which she suggested “being a mother” gave her the edge on Theresa May.

Judges said Sylvester’s scoop “dominated the news agenda and was quality journalism published at a time of massive political uncertainty”.

The Times also saw Anthony Loyd awarded the foreign reporter of the Year and Billy Kenber named science and health journalist of the year.

The paper’s ‘Day of Reckoning’ cover on the day of the EU Referendum was named Front Page of the Year.

The Financial Times won the website of the year and also saw Pilita Clark named Environment Journalist of the Year, Simon Usborne named Travel Journalist of the Year, Henry Mance awarded Interviewer of the Year for the Broadsheets and FT Weekend Magazine named Supplement of the Year.

The Sunday Times took home the Young Journalist of the Year for Louise Callaghan. The paper’s Oliver Shah, who led the coverage on the collapse of BHS under Sir Philip Green was awarded the Business and Finance Journalist of the Year Award.

The evening also saw posthumous honours for Feature Writer of the Year and Critic of the Year awarded to AA Gill for the Sunday Times. Gill died of cancer in December.

Judges said: “The strength of his writing not only brought difficult issues to a wider audience but also proved his brilliance. His last feature on the NHS was truly outstanding and both moving and insightful in its own right.”

Guardian social affairs reporter Amelia Gentleman was named specialist journalist of the year and chief football writer Daniel Taylor won both the sports journalist of the year and news reporter of the year categories for his reporting on the football sexual abuse scandal.

The judges described Taylor’s work over the year as “agenda-setting, sensitive and unequivocally in the public interest”, adding: “His work dominated the news agenda both in print, on television and online and one suspects that the repercussions will be felt for years to come.”

The Telegraph’s picked up digital scoop of the year for exposing football manager Sam Allardyce used his position as England manager to negotiate a £400,000 deal and offered advice to businessmen on how to “get around” FA rules on player transfers.

The paper’s Lisa Armstrong was also named fashion journalist of the Year.

The Sun saw its Age UK investigation awarded the Cudlipp Award for campaigning journalism and Laura Armstrong named Showbiz Reporter of the Year for the Sunday edition.

The New European was awarded the Chairman’s Award.

Full list of winners:

Young Journalist of the Year
Winner: Louise Callaghan – The Sunday Times

Business and Finance Journalist
Winner: Oliver Shah – The Sunday Times
Highly commended: John Gapper – Financial Times

Political Journalist of the Year
Winner: Rachel Sylvester – The Times
Highly commended: Matthew Parris – The Times

Foreign Reporter of the Year
Winner: Anthony Loyd – The Times
Highly commended: Louise Callaghan – The Sunday Times and Patrick Cockburn – The Independent

Science and Health Journalist of the Year
Winner: Billy Kenber – The Times
Highly commended: Andrew Gregory – Daily Mirror

Fashion Journalist of the Year
Winner: Lisa Armstrong – The Daily Telegraph
Highly commended: Anna Murphy – The Times

Environment Journalist of the Year
Winner: Pilita Clark – Financial Times
Highly commended: George Monbiot – The Guardian

Travel Journalist of the Year
Winner: Simon Usborne – Financial Times
Highly commended: Chris Haslam – The Sunday Times

Specialist Journalist of the Year
Winner: Amelia Gentleman – The Guardian
Highly commended: Larisa Brown – Daily Mail and Patrick Strudwick – Buzzfeed

ShowBiz Reporter of the Year
Winner: Laura Armstrong – The Sun on Sunday
Highly commended: Tom Bryant – Daily Mirror

Sports Journalist of the Year
Winner: Daniel Taylor – The Guardian
Highly commended: Martha Kelner – Daily Mail

Interviewer of the Year Pop
Winner: Charlotte Edwardes – London Evening Standard
Highly commended: Frances Hardy – Daily Mail

Interviewer of the Year Broadsheet
Winner: Henry Mance – Financial Times
Highly commended: Bryan Appleyard – The Sunday Times

Columnist of the Year Pop
Winner: Peter Oborne – Daily Mail
Highly commended: Dominic Lawson – Daily Mail and Jane Moore – The Sun

Columnist of the Year Broadsheet
Winner: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown – i
Highly commended: Janice Turner – The Times

Feature Writer of the Year
Winner: AA Gill – The Sunday Times

Critic of the Year
Winner: AA Gill – The Sunday Times
Highly commended: Robbie Collin – The Daily Telegraph

Photographer of the Year
Winner: Dominic Lipinski – Press Association
Highly commended: Carl Court – Getty Images

Sports Photographer of the Year
Winner: Andy Hooper – Daily Mail
Highly commended: Mike Egerton – Press Association

Cartoonist of the Year
Winner: Stanley (MAC) McMurtry – Daily Mail
Highly commended: Peter Brookes – The Times

News Reporter of the Year
Winner: Daniel Taylor – The Guardian
Highly commended: Oliver Shah – The Sunday Times

Website of the Year
Winner: Financial Times
Highly commended: The Sun

Digital Scoop of the Year
Winner: Football For Sale – The Daily Telegraph
Highly commended: Keith Vaz – Daily Mirror

Supplement of the Year
Winner: FT Weekend Magazine – Financial Times
Highly commended: The Times Magazine – The Times and G2 – The Guardian

Front page of the Year
Winner: Day of Reckoning – The Times
Highly commended: It’s President Trump…What have they done? – Daily Mirror

The Georgina Henry Women in Journalism Prize for Innovation
Winner: Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff – opinions editor at
Highly commended: Rosamund Urwin – Evening Standard Columnist and Senior Feature Writer

The Cudlipp Award – supported by the British Journalism Review
Winner: Age UK Investigation – The Sun
Highly commended: Drugs Companies campaign – The Times

Journalists’ Charity Award
Winner: Guy Black, Executive Director, Telegraph Media Group

Scoop of the Year – sponsored by Gorkana
Winner: Being a mother gives me edge on May, Rachel Sylvester – The Times
Highly commended: My Secret Father, Charles Moore and Gordon Rayner – The Daily Telegraph

Chairman’s Award
Winner: The New European

Newspaper of the Year
Winner: Daily Mail

Picture: Press Awards

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