It was treble joy for the P&J on Friday as three of the newspaper’s Inverness-based reporters scooped prizes at the prestigious Highlands and Islands Media Awards.
Stan Arnaud picked up the newly-introduced award for Top Business Story of the Year, while Andy Skinner took home the Sports Reporter of the Year prize for the second year in a row.
Also triumphing for a second time in succession was Chris MacLennan, who received the Young Journalist of the Year title and the accompanying Alex Main Trophy.
Stan scooped the inaugural award for his exclusive story relating to the economic boost being delivered to Forres as aerospace company Orbex revealed it would begin producing rockets in the Moray town.
He said: “I am honoured to be the first recipient of this new award and I am extremely grateful to Inverness Chamber of Commerce for backing it.
“The Highlands and Islands has a vibrant and hugely diverse economy and business world, from traditional industry through to space-age start-ups, and I am proud to be involved in reporting its challenges and opportunities.”
Sports writer Andy submitted entries on his exploits on board with Ross County as they paraded the streets of Dingwall after scooping the Championship title, a feature with Oban-based golfer Robert MacIntyre on his loyalty to his hometown and a third piece on the first professional boxing bout to take place in Elgin for 80 years, featuring headline act Andrew Smart.
He said: “When I won the award last year it was one of my proudest moments and to retain it this year feels even better.
“I get a constant thrill out of covering sport in an area of the country which I love, so to be recognised for fulfilling my job, which I have always aspired to do, is hugely gratifying.”
Chris took the Young Journalist of the Year award for his story on a boom in donors signing up to the Anthony Nolan register, an exclusive on the Iolaire being declared an official war grave and his coverage of the unveiling of a Jock statue in Inverness to honour the courage and sacrifice of the Queens Own Highlanders.
He said: “I am once again humbled to have won the Alex Main Trophy. It came as a real surprise but a very welcome one at that.
“It’s an honour to stand aside so many worthy winners at a time when the media industry in the Highlands is thriving.”
Chris narrowly missed out on Top Story of the Year, with fellow P&J reporter David Mackay also shortlisted for the award.
That prize was taken home by Highland News Media reporter Louise Glen for her story about NHS Highland bosses being ordered to apologise to the family of woman who died suddenly at Raigmore Hospital.
Freelance journalist and regular contributor to the P&J, Iain Grant took home the Barron Trophy, awarded in recognition of a lifetime in journalism, with special recognition awards also handed out on the night to Ian McCormack, long-serving editor of Skye based newspaper the West Highland Free Press honoured, as he retires after 40 years at the helm.
And there was double success for the West Highland Free Press as Keith Mackenzie took home the Jim Love Memorial Trophy for Reporter of the Year and the overall Journalist of the Year award – which is determined by an expert judging panel.
The Shetland Times was named Newspaper of the Year.
The awards, at the Kingsmills Hotel, were presented by Keith Miller, distillation and maturation director of Diageo, the principal sponsor of the Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards.