THE Echo is celebrating after picking up a top honour at its parent company’s annual awards.
The paper’s publishers, Northeast Press, beat off tough competition from other units across the country to be named Publishing Unit of the Year, at the second annual Johnston Press (JP) Group Awards presentation evening.
The accolade, sponsored by Mediaforce, was one of a clutch of awards won by our publishing unit, which includes the Sunderland Echo, Washington Star, Shields Gazette, Hartlepool Mail and associated websites.
Our unit also won the Best Publishing Unit Sales Team award, sponsored by NRS Media.
Trophies were presented in 44 categories during the event, which was held during a glittering ceremony in Leeds.
Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield, said: “It was a real delight to be able to recognise such a wide range of outstanding performances by our colleagues.
“I’m sure there are lots more success stories happening around the business, but these awards gave us the chance to shine the spotlight on some of the best from 2013 – and also to reward hard work, dedication and innovative thinking on an individual and team basis.
“Based on the enthusiasm, dedication and commitment we saw last night, our company is certainly in safe hands.”
We were also named the winner of the Sales Team of the Year (Local Display and Features), sponsored by Amplify, and we were named runner-up in the Sales Team of the Year Property title.
Kelly Wardley, from the North East unit, was named Best Digital Sales Person.
Newspaper Sales Team of the Year went to the North East Newspaper Sales Team, which was also runner-up in the Innovation in Newspaper Sales category, sponsored by Endava.
The unit’s marketing manager Debbie Mitchell was named runner-up for Best Supporting Role in the Business.
Jackie Smith, who also works for Northeast Press, was one of five winners of the Chief Executive Award.
Photographer of the Year Weekly was also clinched by Northeast Press, with the accolade going to Jane Coltman, of the Northumberland Gazette & Morpeth Herald.
Stephen Plews, managing director of Northeast Press, said: “The North East publishing unit enjoyed a phenomenal evening at the JP annual awards.
“We had finalists in 10 categories winning seven, including the coveted publishing unit of the year.
“The team in this unit are extremely passionate and talented and this success is just reward for their efforts in 2013.”