In his opening address to 500 guests at London’s Lancaster Hotel, newsawards director Gary Cullum said that newspapers and news brands were an essential part of life throughout the UK and Ireland.
“Each month, some 47 million people at home, work or on the move engage with our print, online, mobile or social media products. Our unparalleled press educates and informs, entertains, probes, investigates and holds those in power to account. We reach out to international, national, regional and local communities in ways no other news media can hope to match.
“There are daily reminders of how fortunate we are to live and work in a society where a free press can operate. The Wikileaks and whistleblower Ed Snowden revelations have fueled international debate. The Panama Papers investigation and Sam Allardyce exposure are further examples of how our news media sets the agenda, forces change and keeps the powers-that-be on their toes.
”With our free press under attack from those in the corridors of power and those who would shackle or seek to censor us, we need our purveyors of quality journalism and hard-hitting headlines as much as ever before.
”The champions of the free press that make up the UK’s newspaper market are the strongest and most diverse in the world – as 23 senior news media and agency executives discovered over three days of intensive judging for newsawards 2017.
”Our industry’s ability to inform, entertain and question those in authority is unrivalled. We know that we have something special to offer because more people than ever before are taking a stake in us around the clock and around the world.
Heart of the community
”Our news brands are at the very heart of the communities they seek to serve, reporting news as it happens in an increasingly digital-first industry. But ours is a balancing act; we balance the hunger for instant news – anywhere, any time – with the continued desire for a more considered analysis. And in doing that, we balance the direct delivery of news via citizen journalists and social media with the sustained appetite for print, which remains the go-to platform for quality in-depth editorial insight, commentary and features. And we also balance the continuing commercial and financial challenges facing our industry.
”The newsawards are not editorial awards; they focus on excellence across print and digital and commercial sectors of the business – the overall news brand. That said, judges were tasked this year to assess and analyse content closely – because content remains king – as well as majoring on print and production excellence, design, business and commercial innovation.
”The mode of news delivery may be changing constantly and moving forward, but successful brands that draw their lifeblood from quality and targeted content grow stronger by the week, continue to reinforce trust in our brands and gain greater audiences by the hour.
”We are a tough and resilient industry. We are pioneering, we are innovating, both in print and online. Our portfolio is greater than ever before and our audience continues to grow.
Long may that continue.”