Hundreds of journalists and media workers - and their guests – gathered at the Kingsmill Hotel in Inverness on Friday 7 February for the Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards.
Principal sponsors Diageo were joined by Statkraft, Quatro PR, the National Union of Journalists, Chivas Brothers, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Hub North Scotland in supporting the event which has been taking place for more than 30 years.
Winner of the award for Best Use of Digital Media, particularly through its coverage of the Iolaire commemorations, was Stornoway Media Centre, for the work of welovestornoway.com
The award was accepted by Fred Silver, managing director and founder of Intermedia Services (Stornoway) Ltd, the parent company of welovestornoway.com who said: “We have a small but dedicated team who work hard to provide our local community with the kind of news service they deserve. It is gratifying to have our efforts recognised as the best they can be, especially by our peers in the world of news and media.”
He said later: "This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of a whole team of people since 2012 who have built welovestornoway.com into the best local online news and information website with more than 37,500 users a month.”
Stornoway Media Centre, on James Street, houses a stable of news websites, magazines and the monthly newspaper EVENTS, between them covering all kinds of news and events from the Butt of Lewis to Vatersay, as well as the Isle of Skye and other Scottish islands.
And the company’s wide-ranging media products, quality content and extensive reach of stories were enough to convince judges that no-one in the Highlands and Islands is doing better with their use of digital media.
Judges for the Highlands and Islands Media Awards said: “The judges were impressed with We Love Stornoway’s cracking local content which has national reach across a range of platforms.
“Strong stories featuring the Iolaire commemoration, the Red Arrows and Cats Protection stood out, while the use of written and video content, together with the use of social media, is a powerful combination which makes a real impact.”
The Community Newspaper awards were dominated by publications from the Outer Hebrides with the three finalists being Am Pàipear from Uist, Fios and Rudhach. The winner was Rudhach, the monthly newspaper serving Point which was set up 20 years ago with the assistance of the Western Isles Enterprise community newspaper programme, which was provided by Intermedia Services. The award was accepted by Rudhach’s celebrated long-time columnist Matthew Maciver.
The award for the Best Use of Gaelic went to Shona Macmillan, of Fios, the Ness-based community newspaper. This award was sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
Judges faced a record 116 entries in 12 categories covering newspaper, online and broadcast news stories and features, as well as the year’s top photographs.
Gordon Fyfe, chairman of the Highlands and Islands Media Awards judging panel, said: “The media awards recognise and reward the best in journalism across our dispersed area which stretches from Shetland to Argyll and from Moray to the Outer Hebrides.
“Once again, we were delighted with the number and high standard of entries and choosing a shortlist has been an extremely difficult task.”
The Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards was held at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness. Principal sponsor was Diageo, and a new sponsor this year, Statkraft, provided additional support along with Quatro PR, Chivas Brothers, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the National Union of Journalists, Inverness Chamber of Commerce and Hub North Scotland.
The ball’s charity fundraising will benefit four local organisations: Day 1; Birchwood Highland; Alzheimer Scotland and Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), as well as the Journalists’ Charity.
For the first time, the event was organised by Quatro PR which moved into Scotland last year with the acquisition of the team at Inverness-based System2.
Stornoway Media Centre managing director and editor Fred Silver received the Highlands and Islands Media award for Best Use of Digital Media from sponsor Diageo’s representative Keith Miller.