Canon Awards winners to be named on Friday

The winners of the Canon Media Awards, the biggest industry awards in New Zealand, will be announced on Friday night at a function in the Pullman Hotel in Auckland from a record number of almost 1700 entries.

The 2014 awards saw competition in 66 categories, with a raft of new digital categories including Best Blog and a range of new regional awards.

According to NZ Newspaper Publishers Association editor director Rick Neville, Columnist of the Year remained the most hotly contested category.

The list of Columnist of the Year finalists included Sunday Star-Times and Metro magazine satirist Steve Braunias and political sketch writer Jane Clifton. This year the category was split in two – Columnist, Humour and Satire and General Columnist – and from the two winners, judges selected the overall Columnist of the Year. Entries jumped from 82 last year to 100.

The awards also were opened up for regional entrants, Mr Neville says. “That was really to answer a plea from our smaller newspapers, who felt that without big newsrooms and a lot of resources, it was quite hard to win the major reporting and feature writing awards,” he said.

“So we’ve introduced some additional awards this year for regional and community newspaper journalism and they’ve been very strongly supported – we’ve had 70 or 80 entrants in those categories.”

Also new to the awards was Best Magazine Cover and a suite of Crime and Justice reportage awards.

“One of the more contentious areas is Best Blog,” Mr Neville said. “One highly anticipated finalist in the category is Cameron Slater, “a very polarising figure, so that’s attracted a bit of interest.

“He runs a pretty contentious and controversial, but very well read, blog. That’s the first time the bloggers have been a part of the awards. It’s a new field, recognising the changing media definition.”

Canon Awards judges include News Corp Australia group editorial director Campbell Reid and Fairfax Media executive Garry Linnell.

Tony Gillies, editor-in-chief of AAP, headed the judging for digital categories and the magazine awards were judged by former Listener editor Finlay Macdonald and former New Zealand Woman’s Weekly editor Sarah Stuart.

The photography awards were judged by a panel of three: Mark Baker, an Associated Press photographer in Jakarta; David Gray, Reuters chief photographer for Australia/NZ and the Pacific; and Rob Taggart, Associated Press director of commercial photo operations for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

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