Star shining bright at          media awards

16 November 2019


The Express & Star carried off the Newspaper of the Year (Daily/Sunday) trophy at last night’s Midlands Media Awards, retaining the award it won in 2018.


It beat off strong competition from sister-publication the Shropshire Star and from Reach plc newspapers, Birmingham Mail, Sunday Mercury and The Sentinel, with the judges acknowledging its very high story count, balance of features and hard news, good sports section and exclusive stories.


“There’s an awful lot in it – and that’s a great selling point,” said chairman of the judges, Laurie Upshon.  He added:  "With more than 220 entries, these awards really do reflect the wonderfully diverse region we serve. There were excellent submissions from across the
region which made the judges' jobs extremely difficult, but we were
delighted by the quality of work submitted."

The awards, held at Villa Park to recognise the achievements of the region’s journalists, photographers, broadcasters and bloggers, also saw last year’s winners Mark Gough, ITV News Central; Adrian Goldberg, Kick in the Grass Productions/BBC and Tim Thursfield, Express & Star, retaining their awards.


Mark was named as Television Journalist of the Year alongside ITV colleague Phil Brewster while also being named as Business Journalist of the Year.  Adrian retained his Radio Journalist of the Year award in addition to walking away with the Blogger of the Year trophy, with Tim Thursfield again winning the Tony Flanagan Photographer of the Year accolade.


The Birmingham Mail/Birmingham Live team secured two major awards, winning the inaugural Team of the Year for its coverage of Aston Villa’s Championship Play-Off Final and also the Story of the Year award for its coverage of protests outside schools over LGBT equality teaching,  while Zoe Chamberlain won News Reporter of the Year (Daily). 


Another new category, for the PR agency campaign generating the most positive publicity, went to Story Comms’ initiative to publicise the UK’s most landlocked “wave park in Birmingham.


Love Your, the innovative real estate agency co-founded by entrepreneur Bobby Singh, was headline sponsor of the awards, which were also supported by the Wing Wah Group, HSBC UK, UK Pathway, Digbeth Dining Club, Core Marketing, ITV News Central and the National Union of Journalists.




Newcomer of the Year: Winner – Helen Hoddinott, Free Radio. The judges said Helen demonstrated dynamic, well-documented investigative journalism, exploiting her ability across a range of skills.  Highly commended:  Nitya Rajan, ITV News Central and Yusaf Akbar, BBC Midlands.


Business Journalist of the Year: Winner – Mark Gough, ITV News Central. The judges said Mark delivered a strong package of important local stories, applauding his attempts to discover what is going on over HS2 and JLR.  Highly commended – Carl Jones, Shropshire Business/Birmingham Business.


Columnist of the Year: Winner – Toby Neal, Shropshire Star.  The judges said Toby is one of the most entertaining and creative of political writers, whose columns are full of wit, coming from original and unconventional angles.  Highly commended – Fred Hughes, The Sentinel/Stoke-on-Trent Live. Mike Lockley, Birmingham Mail.


Blogger of the Year: Winner – Adrian Goldberg, Kick in the Grass/BBC. The judges said he provided compact entertainment – short, simple, immediate and authentic. Highly commended – Hayley Warren, Strangeness & Charm.


Feature Writer of the Year: Winner – Rebecca Woods, BBC. The judges said Rebecca had produced meticulously researched, well-written features, commending her for her doggedness and attention to detail.  Highly commended – Caroline Lowbridge, BBC East Midlands Online.  Jane Haynes, Birmingham Live. Sanjeeta Baines, Birmingham Live/Birmingham Post & Mail.


Campaign of the Year: Winner – Alicia Kelly, Matthew Dresch and Grace Walton, Newsquest/Worcester News. The judges said that the campaign of support for a five-year-old schoolboy suffering from a rare disease of leukaemia (which ultimately raised £500,000) was a fantastic, outstanding achievement. It demonstrated the emotion that the well-crafted printed word can generate.  Highly commended – Lindsey Alder, Quidem Radio. Ross Hawkes, Lichfield Live. 


Magazine of the Year: Winner – 99 Percent Lifestyle.  The judges said it was an amazing publication with beautiful photographs and artwork and an impressive array of different subjects covered in its features. Highly commended:  Birmingham Living.


Supplement of the Year:  Winner – Oxford Mail.  The judges said the 124-page publication, painstakingly created by a 3-man team in their own time to mark the 125th anniversary of Oxford United, would be treasured by its readers.  Highly commended – The Sentinel/Stoke-on-Trent Live.


Sports Journalist of the Year (Broadcast). Winner - Ian Winter, BBC Midlands Today.  The judges said Ian’s three entries, all with a human-interest element, were well filmed and edited – one demonstrating that cricket has the power to change people’s lives.  Highly commended – Steve Clamp, ITV News Central.


Sports Journalist of the Year (Print). Winner – Bobby Bridge, Coventry Telegraph.  The judges said seeking out good stories was one thing – but Bobby shows that he knows how to tell them as well.  Compelling pieces of journalism, including great sensitivity when highlighting the mental struggles of a rugby player’s comeback after horrific injury.  Highly commended – Matthew Panter, Tamworth Herald.


Multi-media Journalist of the Year. Winner – Luke Hatfield, Express & Star.  The judges said Luke, a skilled and confident journalist, had submitted an impressive portfolio. A highly competent and polished performance.  Highly commended – Mojo Abidi, ITV News Central. Caroline Lowbridge, BBC East Midlands Online.


Tony Flanagan Photographer of the Year Award.  Winner – Tim Thursfield, Express & Star.  The judges said his photographs demonstrated a very high standard of professionalism, each with an impact of a different kind, including a “cheeky” head shot of Boris Johnson.  Highly commended:  Richard Harris, Richard T Harris/Central Independent News.  Steve Bould, The Sentinel/Stoke-on-Trent Live.


Radio Journalist of the Year.  Winner – Adrian Goldberg, Kick in the Grass Productions/BBC.  The judges said that Adrian’s experience and expertise shine through his recordings, which show a complete understanding of his audience and his location. Well delivered, engaging – a great listen.  Highly commended – Polly Bayfield, Free Radio.  Simon Gilbert, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire.


Television Journalist of the Year:  Joint winners – Mark Gough and Phil Brewster, both ITV News Central.  The judges said Mark produced high-quality work time after time, while Phil, in taking total ownership of the station’s coverage of a national child abuse enquiry, had reported on a harrowing subject with dignity for all those involved.  Highly commended – Jonathan Gibson, BBC Birmingham. Andy Bevan, ITV News Central


Best Use of Social Media:  Winner – ITV News Central.  The judges said the winner had an exceptionally strong social media offering. Polished posts demonstrated that there is still an important role for established broadcasters on unfiltered social media platforms.  Highly commended:  Christina Savvas, Birmingham Live.


Team of the Year: Winner – Birmingham Mail/Birmingham Live. The judges said impressive coverage in print and online of Aston Villa’s Championship Play-Off Final. Online version had high production values and excellent use of multi-media techniques. A real team effort where the joined-up structure of Reach and its high-impact design style comes into its own.  Highly commended – BBC Online East Midlands. Oxford Mail Sports Desk.


PR Campaign: Winner– Story Comms.  The judges said to launch the UK’s most landlocked “wave park” in Birmingham.  Story Comms executed a well-planned campaign that generated fantastic national and regional coverage and created a buzz among the media and public alike.  Highly commended: Hollie Jones and Ross Copping, Liquid.


News Reporter of the Year (Weekly):  Winner – Bev Holder, Stourbridge News.  The judges praised her for clear, interesting, well-written articles – a “stalking” story being really compulsive reading. Highly commended:  Chris Philpotts. Tamworth Herald.


News Reporter of the Year (Daily/Sunday): Winner – Zoe Chamberlain, Birmingham Mail/Birmingham Live.  The judges said Zoe’s gritty, down-to-earth stories included examples galore which had made the leap from local to national coverage. She broke the Starbank School which raised disturbing and shocking issues after teachers went on strike at an “outstanding” school later downgraded to “inadequate.” Highly commended:  Mike Lockley, Sunday Mercury. Nicholas Reid, Derby Telegraph/Derbyshire Live.  Peter Madeley, Express & Star.


Website of the Year: Winner – Oli Hills, Birmingham Updates.  The judges loved Updates as a digital brand which is taking on the traditional print brands. An interesting combination of community-based stories and hard news which has built up a sizeable online following in a short space of time.  Highly commended - Ross Hawkes, Lichfield Live.  Paul Whitelam, Emily White, Helen Harper and Anna Draper, Lincolnshire Media.


Daily/Sunday Newspaper of the Year:  Winner – Express & Star.  The judges recognised the paper’s very high story count, exclusive stories, its good sports section and an excellent balance of features and hard news.


Weekly Newspaper of the Year. Winner – The Staffordshire Newsletter. The judges said an excellent read, full of stories of real relevance from all over its patch.


Story of the Year: Winner – Birmingham Live/Birmingham Mail.  The judges said that the team’s handling of what was perhaps the most disturbing and controversial Midlands news story of the year – protests outside schools over LGBT equality teaching – was in-depth, well-balanced and respectful to all parties.  Highly commended:  ITV News Central.  Sanjeeta Bains, Birmingham Live


The President’s Award:  Winner – Tony Neal, Shropshire Star. Who recorded a remarkable score from the judges, who recognised him as a highly skilled and insightful political columnist.

Media Awards new         headline sponsor

14 November 2019


Birmingham Press Club has announced that Love Your, the real estate agency co-founded by entrepreneur Bobby Singh, is to be headline sponsor of the Midlands Media Awards, which take place on 15 November at The Holte Suite, Villa Park, which last week was named “Venue of the Year” at the prestigious Birmingham Awards.


The awards, now in their 18th year, are held annually to acknowledge the achievements of the region’s journalists, photographers, broadcasters and bloggers.


Press Club chairman Llewela Bailey said: “Bobby is a high-profile businessman and the driving force who has developed Love Your into one of the Midlands’ most successful operations of its kind and we are delighted that he has chosen to partner the Press Club’s flagship event.


“Without a doubt, Bobby is the face of modern estate agency and property management in the UK,” she said.


Bobby, a former senior manager at both PwC and KPMG, co-founded Love Your over ten years ago with his wife Catalina and since then the innovative and successful brand has seen double-digit growth year-on-year. For the second year running it has partnered Grand Designs Live, Channel 4’s home renovating lifestyle event and in doing so became the only UK estate agency to engage as official partner and sponsor in the show’s 20-year history.


Bobby, who last year was named Sikh Business Man of the Year, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the famous Birmingham Press Club, the oldest press club in the world, and to continue our ongoing commitment to the region. 


“The prestigious Midlands Media awards are an important opportunity to recognise the excellence of journalists, broadcasters in the ever-changing media industry across all formats - and the significant contribution made daily. It’s inspirational to hear about the legacy of such a Press Club and I’m genuinely honoured to be supporting the very people that once inspired and educated me as a child to be the very best in life.


“Sadly the decimation of local print media over the last decade has seen savage job cuts. There may be fewer of you today but resilience and ambition will get you to the very top. We wish all the nominees and those involved in the 2019 awards the very best of luck.”


This year, the Awards are also being supported by Dorian Chan, vice-chair of the Wing Wah Group, which includes the Birmingham-based Wing Wah and Ming Moon Chinese restaurants, UK Pathway, which provides educational consultancy services and general guidance to a wide range of age groups, from early stage private schools, pre-GCSE level students right up to postgraduate and PhD level, HSBC UK, Digbeth Dining Club, the National Union of Journalists, Core Marketing and ITV News Central.

Midlands Media Awards 2019 nominations announced

30 October 2019


The nominations have been announced for this year’s Midlands Media Awards.

More than 170 journalists, photographers, PR companies and media organisations from across the Midlands region have been nominated for the prestigious awards.

To view the nominations, click HERE.

This year the ceremony is being held at the Holte Suite, Villa Park, Birmingham on the evening of Friday November 15th, with a drinks reception at 6.30pm.

Hundreds of entries have flooded in from across the region, stretching as far as North Staffordshire, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire and Herefordshire.

The annual awards are organised by Birmingham Press Club, the oldest Press Club in the world.

Press Club Chairman, Llewela Bailey said: “We have had another tremendous response this year and we are truly grateful to each and every entrant.

“The judges have had a really tough job – they have managed to whittle the enormous number of entries down to these nominees, now we must wait until November 15th to find out who has won!”

More than 30 senior journalists and ex-journalists were involved in the judging process.

Tickets for the awards can be obtained at and go to “Buy Tickets”.

Tickets are priced at £85 per person (including VAT) or £800 for a table of ten.


Any queries, please contact Peter Brookes on 07974 454503 or

Media Awards Attract “Highly Impressive” entries

24 October 2019


Almost 220 entries have been received for this year’s Midlands Media Awards, which recognise the achievements of the region’s journalists, photographers, broadcasters and bloggers.


The awards, which take place at The Holte Suite, Villa Park, on Friday 15 November, are being scrutinised by a panel of more than 40 media experts, including nine former newspaper and magazine editors, amongst them award-winning Fiona Alexander and Gary Phelps.


Fiona, who is director of communications at University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, was editor of both The Birmingham Post and Sunday Mercury, while Gary, who now runs his own communications company, twice won the Newspaper of the Year accolade while editor of the Tamworth Herald.


Other former editors on the judging panel are Amanda Woolley (Business & Finance East Midlands), Chris Mair (Group Editor, Newsquest, East Wales weekly titles), Christopher Mowbray (Public Security), Murray Morse (Irish Post/Cambridge News), Neil White (Derby Telegraph), Peter John (Worcester News), and Nick Hudson, who was the launch editor of Spain’s first national English-language weekly.


Also included on the panel are Dave Woodhall, editor of, John Duckers, ex-business editor of The Birmingham Post; Dan Barton, former head of news at ITV Central West and now assistant director, corporate communications at West Midlands Police , former Smooth Radio programme controller Alan Carruthers and ex-TV executive Laurie Upshon, who is chairman of the judging panel.


Llewela Bailey, chairman of Birmingham Press Club, commented: “Despite recent challenging times for the industry, which has been hit by redundancies and title closures, it is very encouraging to have received such a highly impressive list of entries. I’m especially pleased that our Newcomer of the Year category attracted 18 entries – beaten only by the News Reporter of the Year category – which augurs well for the future.”


Ticket prices for the event are £85 (including VAT) for individuals, while tables of ten are available at £800.


Tickets may be booked via Click on to “buy tickets” for various options on how to purchase.


Enquiries:  Peter Brookes, Press Club director

                   Mobile: 07974 454503


Villa Park setting for Midlands Media Awards

24 September 2019


One of Birmingham’s premier leisure venues is to host this year’s prestigious Midlands Media Awards – which sees the introduction of a new category to engage with the public relations sector.


The event, organised by Birmingham Press Club to celebrate the achievements of the region’s journalists, photographers, broadcasters and bloggers, will take place on Friday 15 November in the renovated Holte Suite at Villa Park, Birmingham.


Press Club chairman Llewela Bailey said: “This is the 18th year of the awards, which showcase the tremendous professionalism of media specialists throughout the East and West Midlands. There is a wealth of media talent in the region and the Awards clearly demonstrate that we are amongst the best in the country.


“This year we have extended our range of highly-contested categories – and introduced a new element, which recognises the public relations industry, acknowledging campaigns which generate positive publicity,” added Llewela.


Entries for the award’s 24 categories – which also recognise the best use of social media and the skills of multi-media journalists - will initially be scrutinised by a panel of professionals who will then submit a shortlist to the final judging panel. Deadline for entries is 18 October.


Details on how to enter the awards are on :


Ticket prices for the event are £85 (including VAT) for individuals, while tables of ten are available at £800.


For further information regarding the awards, sponsorship opportunities and tickets please contact Press Club Events Committee members Fred Bromwich ( and Peter Brookes (