Community champion

YOUR Evening Star was been named Britain's Community Newspaper of the Year - but that doesn't mean we'll be resting on our laurels.

By Tracey Sparling

YOUR Evening Star was awarded the title of Britain's Community Newspaper of the Year at the Newspaper Society's Circulation and Editorial Awards 2007 last month. The Star was also runner up for the title of Regional Newspaper of the Year.

Features editor TRACEY SPARLING reveals how the paper intends to build on that achievement.

JUST days ago The Evening Star was recognised for its community-minded approach when it rose above the media scrum to report the five killings of Ipswich women.

Today the Evening Star is flexing its wings, to build on that role as Britain's best.

We want to help you with the battles you are fighting, injustices you have suffered, and achievements you are aiming for.

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Tell us today, what else we can help your community achieve. Our team of reporters are ready to investigate and ask the tough questions you want answered.

The Star's campaign to support vulnerable young women on the streets of Ipswich was singled out for praise in the Newspaper Society's Circulation and Editorial Awards 2007. Our Somebody's Daughter crusade was launched in December after five sex workers were killed. In conjunction with Ipswich Borough Council, the Star is fighting to provide a refuge to break the cycle which links hard drug usage to the street sex trade. Today the campaign is being further stepped up, in conjunction with Suffolk Police, as we pledge to name and shame kerb crawlers who are blighting our community.

When the award was won, Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover said: “We have a unique partnership - an invaluable loyalty to, and from, our readers and our pledge is to fight for Ipswich, Felixstowe and wider Suffolk as never before.

“The Community Newspaper of the Year title is the best honour of all. It means you are recognised for your close affinity with readers”

He added today: “We run many campaigns with readers' interests at heart, and I have plans for lots more this year.”

The Newspaper Society represents about 1,300 daily and weekly, paid-for and free, newspaper titles in the UK. Competition was fierce, against newspapers in busy cities with bigger budgets, some with 100 reporters, and it was the eighth time in about ten years that the Evening Star has been named best in Britain.



Do you have an issue you want investigating? What do you think of the Evening Star? We want to hear your suggestions for improvements.

Contact the Newsdesk, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, e-mail or call 01473 324789.

2007: Community Newspaper of the Year, The Newspaper Society

2002: Britain's Evening Newspaper of the Year, Press Gazette

2002: Regional Daily Newspaper of the Year, BT. Website of the Year for south east and east, BT.

2000: London and North Home Counties Daily Newspaper of the Year, BT

1998: British Evening Newspaper of the Year (under 40,000 copies), Press Gazette

1997: British Evening Newspaper of the Year (under 40,000 copies), Press Gazette

1997: Campaigning Newspaper of the Year, Press Gazette

1996: British Evening Newspaper of the Year, Press Gazette

Reporters and photographers have also won many individual awards over the years, as have our unique campaigns. This list does not include numerous Archant national awards.

2007: Rebecca Lefort, Newcomer of the Year, EDF Energy. Jon Elsey, Front Page of the Year, EDF Energy.

2006: James Marston, Feature Writer of the Year, EDF Energy Awards

James Fletcher, Photographer of the Year, EDF Energy Awards

2001: Lisa Baxter Specialist Reporter of the Year, Press Gazette

2000: Tracey Sparling, Specialist Reporter of the Year, Press Gazette

1996: Ambulancewatch, Campaign of the Year, Press Gazette. This campaign highlighted the East Anglian Ambulance Trust's problems when tragedies and near tragedies like slow ambulance being sent to the wrong locations. On the back of this campaign, the chief executive resigned in 2001 and a public enquiry was launched to investigate the trust's failings.

Judges at the Newspaper Society awards 2007 said: “We were impressed by the way the Star handled a huge story that dominated the national press. It was excellently handled while at the same time the newspaper kept to its roots.

“The Star succeeded in galvanising the community at a time of huge concern for the safety of women in the area.”

Keith Parker, chairman of the Newspaper Qualifications Council, said: “Once again the regional press has proved itself, with the standards of entries being high in 2007.

I was particularly impressed with the 'Campaigning newspaper of the year categories - for both daily and Sunday and weekly paid-for regional papers. The depth and range of entries in this award proved campaigning traditions of the UK regional press are alive and well.”

David Newell, director of the Newspaper Society, said: “These awards provide a fantastic platform for showcasing the regional press industry and I would like to congratulate all shortlisted publications.

“Technological advances are enabling press groups to explore new ways of communicating with their audiences across a variety of platforms and it is exciting to see many new innovations rewarded at these awards.”

WHEN the Star of the East hit the streets on February 17, 1885 it brought news into the homes of readers in the Ipswich area at teatime for the first time.

It was a dream come true for its founders who had launched the Norwich-based weekly journal Norfolk News in the mid 1840s and in 1874 printed the first East Anglian Daily Times here in Ipswich.

The newsroom used to be in Carr Street but moved to Lower Brook Street in the 1960s.

From its Norfolk and Suffolk roots the company spread across the region and The Evening Star which evolved from the Star of the East became part of Eastern Counties Newspapers Group (ECNG).

Over the last few years more newspapers, magazines, radio stations and around 40 websites have come in to the family. The geographical scope of the group grew so extensively that the company spread from the north of Scotland to the south coast of Devon and from the Home Counties to London the south west and the Midlands to the north of England.

The name 'Eastern Counties' became misleading, so in recent years the company took on the name Archant.