The shortlist for this year’s British Press Awards was published yesterday.
And I couldn’t help but be chuffed to bits to see so many old friends in the running for the UK’s biggest newspaper prizes.
All the more since my own contributions to papers these days involves punting only the occasional tale to news or features desks, far away from the daily cut and thrust that can make it the best or the worst of places to ply your trade.
Up for a number of awards is Tom Newton Dunn from The Sun.
He’s been nominated in – and I reckon could be a good bet for – Reporter of the Year.
Not surprising when you consider his exclusive on “Friendly Fire Kills Matty Hull” is up for Scoop of the Year along with The Sun’s crusade to “Help Our Heroes” which is down for Campaign of the Year.
Tom is a big, well spoken and friendly guy that I first met up with on a job abroad in the late 90s before ending up working alongside him at The Mirror in London.
And a gong would be no less than he deserves after an exceptional year – even by his high standards.
For Reporter of the Year he does face some notable competition, not least Lori Campbell who many hacks in will remember for her time here in Scotland with, among others, the Daily Record before her current job in London at the Sunday Mirror.
My biggest cheer of the day, though, was reserved for my old pal Dan McDougall who has been nominated as Foreign Reporter of the Year on behalf of The Observer for a string of good stories.
A feat made all the more remarkable by the fact that he is a freelancer for the paper, having moved on from our days together at the Daily Record and latterly the Daily Mail and The Scotsman.
But it is a tough field with many greta talents nominated, including the remarkable Kim Sengupta of The Independent, a charming, influential writer that I first met in Sierra Leone years ago.
Better still, he knew the only place in Freetown selling decent food and wine.
Showbusiness Reporter of the Year sees six people nominated, including Fiona Cummins at the Daily Mirror who I worked with on news before she moved to the life of late night parties and posh frocks.
Joining Tom Newton Dunn in the nominees for Scoop of the Year is the Daily Mirror’s Stephen Moyes for “Amy’s Man is Cuffed and Off to the Cells” – the latest in a string of good exclusives for both him and the paper in general.
I was also pleased to see the team at the Daily Record getting nominated for The Cudlipp Award for its coverage of Robert Mone, not least because it shows a return to some good old fashioned, hard hitting stories under its current news boss Andy Lines.
Website of the Year is split between the Sun, Mail, Mirror , Times, Guardian and Daily Telegraph.
I’d like to think Guardian Online can continue its winning ways for the changes it has introduced, not least because of my old chum Neil McIntosh who heads up editorial development there.
Whatever happens, you’ve got to be in it to win it.
And if nothing else, it should be a grand night out.