Northern Ireland

The Irish News ‘clearly in tune with its readers’ as it is named Regional Newspaper of the Year

The newspaper won the accolade at the 2024 Newspaper Awards in London

The Irish News has been named ‘Regional Newspaper of the Year’
The Irish News has been named ‘Regional Newspaper of the Year’ (nyvltart/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Irish News has been praised for being “clearly in tune with its readers” as it was named Regional Newspaper of the Year.

The title picked up the coveted accolade at the 2024 Newspaper Awards during an event in London yesterday.

Competing against numerous regional daily newspapers across the UK and Ireland, the judges praised it as a “worthy winner” at the awards, which are dedicated to recognising excellence and innovation in the printed media.

Praising The Irish News, chairman of judges Gary Cullum, said: “With market leading daily sales of 25,000-plus, and fresh from a major rebranding initiative that judges loved, The Irish News is clearly in tune with its readers.

“An impressive title with high story count and a great variety of news and sport.

“Fantastic production values, with superb printing by sister company Interpress NI.

“All the more exceptional when you realise print quality and consistency is maintained by the skill of the printers.

“A worthy winner.”

In another impressive win, sister company Interpress NI, which prints The IrIsh News and many other titles, secured the title of Regional Newspaper Printer of the Year.

Mr Cullum said the mission of the judges was to “find perfect quality from a number of different copies off the same presses”, with a separate panel of print experts assembled to help choose the winner.

“Outstanding clean, crisp, consistent world class printing quality - a near perfect portfolio and a unanimous top choice of all the judges,” Mr Cullum said.

Dominic Fitzpatrick
IntoMedia CEO Dominic Fitzpatrick, centre, at the 2024 Newspaper Awards ceremony in London with host Mark Durden-Smith and Tracey Hart of Newsprinters, sponsor of the Regional Newspaper of the Year award

“Impressive printing with pinpoint register on a web moving at 10 metres per second, running to very tight deadlines, and without the aid of registration cameras or colour control.

“The quality of copy on the table demonstrated consistent density, with right registration and web alignment.”

Interpress production manager David Wilson
Interpress production manager David Wilson

The extensive recent rebranding of The Irish News was also highly commended in the Newspaper Employee/Team of the Year category, which was won by Reach Printing Services.

The new-look paper, launched last year, celebrates the newspaper’s rich heritage and history while placing it at the forefront of a changing media landscape.

The judges praised chief marketing officer, Annette McManus, who “led the rebranding project designed to revitalise The Irish News”.

Annette McManus
Annette McManus was praised by the judges

“It was relaunched in September 2023 to universal acclaim, solidifying its leading position in a fiercely competitive sector,” Mr Cullum said.

“Annette clearly motivated others and drove the team forward.”

The awards success comes after The Irish News recently secured the number one position in the UK regional newspaper industry for combined print and digital sales.

The new-look Irish News print edition, featuring columnist Chris Donnelly on the cover, debuted in September.
The new-look Irish News print edition debuted in September

Chris Sherrard, Irish News editor-in-chief, said: “The Newspaper Awards are rightly recognised as a prestigious and important occasion in our industry’s calendar and we’re absolutely delighted to have picked up some of the biggest awards of the night.

“Such recognition is testament to the continued endeavours and dedication of The Irish News team across all departments.

“We have worked hard to establish ourselves as the best-selling regional daily newspaper in the UK and Ireland but that is not something we take for granted and, so, the work continues every day to maintain the standards that have been set by my predecessor Noel Doran.

“I was also delighted to see richly-deserved recognition for Annette McManus and the work she carried out on the redesign of our paper which has been universally popular with readers.”

The awards event was held in London on Tuesday
The awards event was held in London on Tuesday

Stormont First Minister Michelle O’Neill congratulated the newspaper on the win in a post on social media.

“This award is testament to the invaluable service and coverage the Irish News provides daily on the issues which matter most to local communities, its commitment to our local community and its readers,” she wrote.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood also wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “Well deserved recognition for the @irish_news team, congratulations.”