A REPORTER who helped to expose the saga of greed behind Oxford Stadium has been hailed young journalist of the year.
The Oxford Mail’s very own Hannah Somerville was named a winner yesterday at the Regional Press Awards, which celebrate the very best of regional journalism across the UK.
— Keeley Rodgers (@Keeley_Rodgers) May 19, 2017
Several other reporters were highly commended for their work, while the Mail's sister paper The Oxford Times was also praised in the weekly paper category.
- Young Journalist of the Year: Hannah Somerville
- Business and Finance Journalist of the Year: Gill Oliver
- Environment Journalist of the Year: Pete Hughes
- Science and Education Journalist of the Year: Luke Sproule
- Daily/Sunday Newspaper (below 20,000): Oxford Mail
- Weekly Newspaper (below 15,000): Oxford Times
- Weekly Newspaper (below 15,000): Herald Series
The Oxford Mail was nominated for daily paper of the year but missed out on the prize to the Derby Telegraph.
As she picked up her award, judges heaped praise on Miss Somerville, the Blackbird Leys and health reporter, who started at the paper in 2015, noting a ‘promising start’ to her career.
Speaking at the ceremony, she said: “[The awards] are an important recognition of the work local newspapers do.
“We are a fundamental part of local democracy, and national democracy. It’s nice to be able to get everyone together and recognise that.”
Miss Somerville beat off shortlisted entrants to collect her trophy at the ceremony in London yesterday.
She was recognised for three articles of particular significance written for the paper.
They included an in-depth expose about Oxford Stadium, printed in February last year, which culminated months of interviews and investigation into the greyhound and speedway racing grounds.
Judges were also impressed with her ability to hold authorities to account, demonstrated in an article piling pressure on Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust to take action after it failed to prevent the death of Oxford teenager Connor Sparrowhawk.
Her final entry was printed in the Mail in June last year, questioning how an elderly man’s body was left undiscovered in his Blackbird Leys flat for several months.
The awards, hosted by the Society of Editors and presented by LBC radio presenter Nick Ferrari, also saw Oxford Mail reporters Luke Sproule and Pete Hughes given high commendation for their specialist subjects of education and environment respectively.
The Oxford Mail’s sister weekly paper the Oxford Times was highly commended for weekly newspaper of the year, with judges stating it was an ‘excellent local newspaper with first class coverage of local news and issues’.
The Oxford Mail itself was shortlisted for daily newspaper of the year, its sister title the Herald Series for weekly newspaper of the year, and our business and property reporter Gill Oliver was shortlisted for business and finance journalist of the year.