Qantas Awards

The lovely folks at the Herald on Sunday invited me to join them at their table for the Qantas Awards in Auckland last night (as I have done a couple of pieces for them), and it was definitely the place to be as they went on to win not just Best Weekly Newspaper but the coveted Best Newspaper.

Earlier in the night briefly popped into some blogger drinks and caught up with some of the old regulars, and met a few new people which was fun. Also failed to recognise Phil U due to his new look 🙂

Back to the Qantas, and as I said it was a great night for the Herald on Sunday. On top of the two main newspaper awards, they also won Best General Columnist and Best All Round Columnist (Paul Holmes) and Best Portrait or Object Portfolio Photographer (Janna Dixon).

The Herald on Sunday is less than four years old, and when you start with no subscribers, it is swim or sink, and I think it shows the power of hunger and competition that such a new newspaper has done so well. The Sunday newspapers are almost the only ones which still have direct competition in the print media.

Most people didn’t give speeches, but Paul Holmes gave a hilarious speech which Bill Ralston (one of the MCs along with Mary Lambie) tried to cut short. Paul just retorted “Knock it off Bill or I’ll fucking thump you” which had the desired effect. Ralston and Lambie were both very good as MCs, with Ralston making many jokes at the expense of his former bosses at TVNZ.

The winner of the most significant individual award – the Qantas Fellow to Wolfson College in Cambridge went to Phil Kitchin of the Dominion Post which was indisputably deserved. Kitchin and his editor Tim Pankhurst also got an Outstanding Achievement award for the Louise Nicholas story. Few stories have ever had such an impact on a country, and as Pankhurst pointed out it was their most defamatory story ever – except for the defence of truth – so deciding to run it was pretty ballsy.

Peter Griffin picked up Best Information & Comms Technology Feature Writer and Carroll du Chateau, Best Government, Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs Feature Writer. The Herald also had a very good night winning the Best Daily Newspaper with over 25,000 circulation. I understand their major stories on the Electoral Finance Act were submitted as their portfolio.

The best IT Columnist was Jillian Allison-Aitken from the Southland Times. I have to confess I have not read her stuff,so will have to look out for it in future. Colin Espiner was Best Politics Columnist.

Oh yes the best newspaper section went to the ODT for their world focus section. A few people joked they didn’t know the ODT had a world focus section – I have to admit when I lived in Dunedin my memories were that the Oamaru fair day would received twice as much space as the Berlin Wall coming down 🙂 Obviously things have improved!

The Listener won Best Newsstand Magazine which editor Pamela Stirling appreciated greatly as vindication for her decisions to make changes to The Listener. We know this, because she said so in her acceptance speech!

In the online categories the Herald won best news website, NBR won best single report on a news website and the globally popular Read Write Web won Best Blog. Congrats to No Right Turn for being a finalist.

As I mentioned the Herald on Sunday won Best Newspaper and Best Weekly Newspaper, and NZ Herald Best Large Daily. The Manawatu Standard won Best Small Daily, the Aucklander (West) Best Community Newspaper, and the NZ Herald Best Front Page (for their Democracy Under Attack  story)

The full awards list is here.

Was a very enjoyable night, meeting new people and catching up with others. Having a quiet recovery day today and then off to a play in Auckland tonight.

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