The Daily Record was the big winner at last night’s Scottish Press Awards in Glasgow.
It picked up awards for Team of the Year, Campaign of the Year and main prize of the night, Scottish Newspaper of the Year.
Their success will have come as a bitter blow to the Scottish Sun who must have felt they were in with a great chance having established themselves as the country’s biggest selling paper.
But the judges sent a message to the cut-price red top that it is quality as well as quantity that counts and – in their view – the Record performed better than anyone.
Editor Bruce Waddell, dapper with his wild west style tie, was maybe a little too candid as he told the audience: “I’m shocked.”
And by the lack of instant applause, so too were many in the audience.
That was no doubt down to a collective disappointments from rivals as much as anything.
After all, many could have expected to be in with a good shout with it being such a busy news year.
But after awarding the Record the Campaign of the Year, Journalist Team of the Year and Front Page of the Year awards, there couldn’t then be any other winner.
It’s a great thing for them too.
They’ve seen their place as the top selling paper in the country lost to the Scottish Sun, and yet they’ve come out fighting after a mid-term shake up.
The close knit team has been reinvigorated under Record news editor Andy Lines who has injected spark and pride back into the news operation which had, in truth, lost much of its direction and been stuck in the doldrums under its previous incumbent.
But while it shone in news, it toiled in sport, failing to pick up any awards at all while the Scottish Sun landed Sports News Writer of the Year through the ever impressive Iain King and a freelancer, Darren Tulett, beating them to Sports Scoop of the Year.
No doubt it will just make the Scottish Sun try all the harder next time, against a refreshed rival, as it looks to question whether a tartan edition of a London based paper will ever be allowed to win against an indigenous product.
And you certainly can’t fault them for effort under David Dinsmore who has helped make it a must read for almost half a million Scots every day.
The Sunday Mail may have been many people’s first pick for team of the year for its rapid reaction to the Glasgow Airport bombings, and maybe among the bigger surprises when it lost out to its daily sister title.
Instead they had to make do with the other main award of the night – Reporter of the Year – for the evergreen Charlie Lavery, who continues to surprise his bosses with a steady stream of his groundbreaking exclusives.
Magazine writer of the Year went to Michael Tierney who showed no shame turning up at the event after being told he’d won.
Biggest cheer of the night went to the first lady of Scottish journalism – Joan Burnie – who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award – claiming that she only guaranteed the prize by threatening to have sex with the judges.
And it was a milestone night for the Brian McCartney too, attending his final SPA’s in Record colours before retiring this summer, making it all the more poignant when he collected their main reporting award on the night.
Another big winner was Paul Hutcheon of the Sunday Herald – Political Journalist of the Year and Journalist of the Year – for making most of the running on the Wendy Alexander expenses row story that dominated column inches for most of the year.
The Ayrshire Post’s star newshound Lisa Boyle was pipped as Young Journalist of the Year by the P&J’s Ryan James Crighton.
Another young talent to be edged out was Greig Cameron in the business category, but he can know his time will come after the hugely experienced and respected John Penman of the Sunday Times got the nod from judges.
It was also the first event to have its results released live using Twitter thanks to Craig McGill at Denvir PR who manfully thumbed the keys through all the categories.
And as guest of the ever generous Lynn Hunter, communications manager for Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, it’s the first time this blog has had photos from the event too.
Of course there were real photographers there, and for the quality of these pix I can only humbly apologise to them.
Among them Ian Rutherford of The Scotsman who picked up the Sports Photographer of the Year Award and Andrew Milligan from the Scottish Press Association for the news title.
For a full list of the winners visit Scotland’s dedicated media website at allmediascotland.com