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  5. Gender balanced in Scottish Press Awards overhaul
Scottish Newspaper Society director John McLellan (left) with Daily Record editor Murray Foote, last year's Newspaper of the Year winner, and judges' chair Austin Lafferty.
Newspaper of the Year
Scottish Newspaper Society director John McLellan (left) with Daily Record editor Murray Foote, last year’s Newspaper of the Year winner, and judges’ chair Austin Lafferty.

Organisers of the Scottish Press Awards have announced that for the first time the competition’s judging panel will have a majority of female members.

Announcing the 38th annual awards, the Scottish Newspaper Society has also revealed that serving editors from the SNS editors’ committee will no longer sit on the judging panel. The only exception will be the Weekly Newspaper of the Year category, which will still involve the daily editors.

Announcing a jury of 25 leading media experts and former editors, chair of the judging panel Austin Lafferty said: “There has been so much change in the air over the past year and this is a good opportunity to look again at the way the awards are judged. I very much welcome these changes and look forward to working with all the new judges.”

In another significant change, the external judges will be involved at all stages of the judging process, replacing a system in which they were only involved once entries had been whittled down to a short-list.

Scottish Newspaper Society director John McLellan said: “As a newspaper editor I helped judge the Scottish Press Awards for 15 years and I have long felt an overhaul was overdue. It’s not before time that we addressed the issue of female representation, and having a fully independent panel of judges enhances the scheme’s credibility.”

New categories have been introduced for digital team of the year and outstanding digital journalist to recognise the continued expansion and development of digital news publishing on all platforms.

There is also a new Sports Columnist of the Year category and Photographer of the Year has been expanded so the portfolios can include both news and sport. The feature writer category has been expanded to include arts and entertainment.

The awards are sponsored by Diageo, Clydesdale Bank, the Scotch Whisky Association, VisitScotland. BIG Partnership, the Radisson Blu and Event Consultants Scotland.

The deadline for submitting entries is Monday 16th January 2017. The shortlist will be published in March 2017 and the winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony and Dinner on Thursday May 11, 2017, at the Radisson BLU Hotel in Glasgow.

Entry forms and guidelines can be found here.

The new judging panel is: Austin Lafferty (solicitor, chair), Karen Bale (Glasgow Clyde College), Tony Carlin (ex-editor, Evening Times), Barbara Clarke (VisitScotland), Tom Collins (Stirling University), Mike Crow (RBS), Roberta Doyle (National Theatre of Scotland), Sallyanne Duncan (Strathclyde University), Lorna Finley (Scottish Episcopalian Church), Nicola Furrie (Robert Gordon University), Rosemary Gallagher (SWA), Janette Harkess (Royal Conservatoire), Sue Holloway (Carat Scotland), Helen Lennox (Scottish Water),  Tom Little (South Lanarkshire Council), Seonag MacKinnon (Church of Scotland), Charles McGhee (ex-editor, Evening Times, The Herald), John McGurk (ex-editorial director, Scotsman Publications),  Zoe Ogilvie (BIG Partnership), Juliet Simpson (Stripe Communications), Ian Smith (Diageo), Anna Steven (BT Scotland), Anthony Thompson (Clydesdale), Bruce Waddell (ex-editor, Scottish Sun, Daily Record) and Chris Williams (ex-editor, Daily Express, Scottish Daily Mail).