It’s that time of year, when Scotland’s hacks pour over the shortlist for the Press Awards to see if they’ve made the cut this time round.
This year’s set of awards – the 38th – comes after a revamp of the judging process and is notable for two reasons. Firstly, the much wider range of publications which have found their way onto the shortlist, including a few which could not be described as mainstream.
And secondly, for the fact this marks the first time in years the Press Awards have included proper digital categories, rather than the ridiculous ‘innovation’ sop they’ve offered for the last few ceremonies.
Even in the non-digital categories, there’s a significant digital presence that marks a radical shift in shortlisting from previous years. Perhaps finally the Scottish Newspaper Society has worked out how computers work…
Chris Cairns’ work for Bella Caledonia features in the Cartoonist of the Year category, while Mark Lammey at Energy Voice gets a nod as for Business Journalist of the Year.
The digital nominations are, once again, dominated by Trinity Mirror with Paul English – who has now left the Daily Record to go freelance – nominated for that paper, alongside Debbie Jackson.
Three of the remaining four on the shortlist are with regional sister website Glasgow Live, leaving Buzzfeed’s Jamie Ross the sole non-TM digital hack nominated.
Digital Team of the Year is an interesting split – the Record is nominated for the whole site, while Glasgow Live submits both the site itself and its coverage of the US elections.
Aberdeen Journals’ increasingly emboldened digital presence has two nods in the category – Energy Voice and the P&J’s coverage of Storm Frank, while the Andrew Jaspan-founded website The Conversation is also listed.
The nominations make for disappointing reading for the Scotsman group. Aidan Smith’s nod as sports feature writer of the year, and the SOS’ Dani Garavelli’s nomination for columnist are the only nods for JP’s flagship titles, with the Edinburgh Evening News and the JP weeklies picking up a couple of nominations alongside that.
The Herald and Times group will be slightly happier, with relative newcomer the National picking up three and the group in total collecting 18 nominations.
But the big beast awards are dominated by the Daily Record, which despite its ongoing sales crisis has had an exceptional year in terms of reporting. Four of the six on the Reporter of the Year shortlist work for Murray Foote’s title while the paper gets four of the five spaces on the Journalism Team of the Year battlefield.
In all, the Record itself boasts 23 of the slots across the whole ballot, a whopping 22% of the entire available nominations – and that’s before you get into Glasgow Live and the Sunday Mail. Their big rivals over at Guildhall collect less than half that total – something likely to fire up the competitive spirit between the papers even more.
The full list of nominees can be read here. Congratulations, as always to everyone nominated in this year’s awards – but especially to chums on the shortlist. The winners will be revealed at the traditional ceremony-cum-boozathon at the Radisson Blu in Glasgow on May 11th.