Scottish Press Awards prove a major success – but where’s the recogntion for freelances?

Tobin Spread which was nominated for an award

Congratulations to al the winners from last night’s Scottish Press Awards. Those honoured on the night included Joan Burnie, the grand dame of the Daily Record, who collected a heartily deserved Lifetime Achievement award.

Also, big thanks to Anna Steven from the BT press office, who invited our own Lauren Crooks to join the BT table at newspaper land’s biggest bunfight. Lauren is bleary eyed today, but had a fantastic time. By all accounts, most of Scottish journalism had a racuous and thoroughly enjoyable night out.

Lauren was the only Deadline Press & Picture Agency representative at the do, because there aren’t any categories which cater for reporting or photographic staff with press agencies. Which is a real shame, considering the vital role they play in the news chain.

However, there IS an award ceemony specifically for news agencies, which has been running for just a few short years but is gaining in credibility and popularity. The event is run by the National Association of Press Agencies (NAPA) and took place last weekend in London.

Two Deadline stalwarts attended – Brian Lewis and Doug Walker – and were delighted to be nominated in the main category, News Story of the Year.

The nomination was for an exclusive sold to the Scottish Daily Mail. It revelead that a former home of Peter Tobin – the man who murdered Angelika Kluk – was being systematically taken apart by forensic experts looking for clues into the 15-year-old mystery surrounding the disappearing of West Lothian schoolgirl, Vicky Hamilton.

A few short months later that led experts to another house formerly occupied by Tobin (this time in the South of England), where the bodies of two young women were uncovered. One set of remains were confirmed as Vicky’s and her family were finally able to lay here to rest. Tobin is now awaiting trial for murder.

You can read the full Daily Mail article here (in pdf format). It earned Deadline a second place – with the overall award going to Splash News, who tracked down Anne Darwin, the wife of “missing” canoeist John Darwin (see the resulting Mirror splash, here), who was actually hiding out in Panama.

You can’t really argue with that – given the quite astonishing amount of global coverage the Darwin story generated. A proper, good, old-fashioned marmalade dropper.

Everybody involved in the running of NAPA has been delighted with the success of this year’s events. These are tough times for news agencies, but there were more entries than ever before and the standard wowwed the judges.

Here is a Media Guardian report on the awards, which, rather inevitably, have now become known as the NAPAs. Let’s hope next year’s will be even bigger and better, with more freelances and agencies joining the organisation.