i Editor's Letter: The UK Press Awards


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The Independent Online

Sian Williams, ex-BBC Breakfast presenter and outstanding host of the UK Press Awards (filling in at the last minute for Sophie Raworth), is a fan.

Bill, the cabbie who drove me home from the event, told me he is too ("like many cabbies"). Despite such unsolicited endorsements, sadly, i did not win the Newspaper of the Year award on Tuesday night.

It turned out that more of the jury proved (as I feared) to be fans of the Daily Mail's uncompromising take on British life and mores. We knew it was their night when we walked in and saw quite how many of their big-beast editors were present – including of course, their editor-in-chief Paul Dacre.

With a salary bill that would fund four of its rivals combined, the Mail got its reward for heavy continuous investment that has resulted in journalism like the heady excellence of Craig Brown, the first writer to win three awards on one night in the history of the awards. It is clear from our mail-boxes that many i readers cannot look past the Mail's politics, but we in the industry cannot help but admire the excellence and flair with which the paper is created. It's like losing a cup final to Man Utd.

Talking of excellence. i's very own outstanding production and design team did take a thoroughly well-deserved award in their category (see photograph, page 17). So too, did our sainted health editor, Jeremy Laurance, specialist journo of the year, and i's queen of comedy, the divine Deborah Ross (this time for her brilliant interviews in our sister paper, the Independent on Sunday - try it as a complement to i).

After all that, yet more excitement here, as I hand over this spot and the editor's chair (for one day) to Mr David Walliams. Look out for his exciting special edition of the paper tomorrow in aid of Sport Relief.