Nick Ferrari awarded for Diane Abbott chat

LBC’s Nick Ferrari has won Best Interview at the IRN Awards 2018 for his questioning of Labour’s Diane Abbott.

Diane struggled to explain how much her party’s plans for extra policing would cost during his breakfast show at LBC last year. The judges said it was “one of the most news-making interviews” of the campaign in which Ferrari “represented the role of listeners and voter brilliantly.”

For the third time in four years Radio Aire in Leeds was named ‘News Team of the Year’ with a TSA of under one million. The team was praised for its smart reporting, superb interviews and its ability to tell and develop stories with flair. In the News Team with a TSA of over one million category, Global’s Newsroom West was awarded top spot for its “commendable variety, versatility and real commitment to its audience.”

The inaugural ‘Campaigning Journalism Award’ was won by The Wave and Swansea Sound whose ‘Don’t Dance Alone’ campaign highlighted age-related issues and how the elderly are treated by the younger generation. The judging panel said it was outstanding and “covered a lot of ground including dementia, abuse, scams and the power of music.” The campaign was also praised by the Welsh government.

An investigation into how Northumbria Police deal with reports of stalking following the murder of Alice Ruggles in Newcastle was awarded the popular ‘Best News Special or Feature.’ Judges said “the story was at the heart of a campaign which was successful in changing police procedure around stalking and harassment.”

Connor Gillies from Global’s Newsroom Scotland was named ‘Reporter of the Year,’ going one better than his runner-up place in 2017. He was described as “a talented and inquisitive journalist” whose original journalism made him stand out in a strong field. Radio City’s David Sanderson was the ‘Newsreader of the Year’ in the over 1 million TSA category. Judges cited his “friendly but authoritative tone” and his “ability to deal with breaking news sensitively.” In the ‘under 1 million TSA’ version, Sophie Merrick from Free Radio Coventry & Warwickshire was the winner. The judges said her bulletins were “always full of colour and really give listeners a sense of being there.”

Patrick Hildred from Global’s Newsroom East continued his remarkable progress in the early stages of his career. Having won last year’s Student Journalist prize, he followed that up by securing the ‘Newcomer of the Year’ award. The panel of judges said his “urgency and powers of description demand that you listen to what he has to say.”

His successor in the Student category was Isabelle Tudor from the University of Sheffield whose report on festival drug testing was described as “a good listen from start to finish.” It was praised for its balance and “the way she challenged festival organisers over their on-site testing.”

The award for Best Sports Coverage went to Proper Sport (formerly Radio Yorkshire) for its reporting on last year’s Tour de Yorkshire. Judges said the coverage “captured the passion for the area, provided commentary which was exciting and featured a wide range of interviews from elite cyclists to locals.”

The IRN Gold Award was presented to Sandy Warr for her outstanding contribution to commercial radio. Sandy has worked in the industry for more than 30 years having started at Radio Mercury in Surrey and Sussex in 1984. She presented Capital’s flagship ‘The Way It Is’ news programme and worked on the Chris Tarrant breakfast show before stints at Talk Radio, LBC, Classic Gold, Smooth and Absolute Radio. Sandy is currently the breakfast news presenter on talkRADIO and can also be heard delivering the news on Magic 105.4 and Mellow Magic.

Sandy is passing on her solid editorial and presentation skills to the next generation of radio journalists as a Visiting Lecturer at City University in London. Her successor at Capital, Howard Hughes, presented the award and there was also a video message from Tarrant who was filming in Spain. He said “Sandy, you’re amazing, you’ve had a brilliant career. You’re a brilliant journalist, and a beautiful reader of the spoken word”

Commenting on the awards, IRN and Sky News Radio Editor Dave Terris said: 2017 was a seismic year for news with terror attacks at home and broad, the Grenfell Tower tragedy, a General Election and the ongoing stories involving Brexit and the Donald Trump presidency. But these awards demonstrate that commercial radio news teams delve into the fabric of local stories and issues, develop impactful campaigns and produce engaging and thought-provoking bulletins. Commercial radio’s millions of listeners are being kept up to date with trusted local, national and international news.

IRN Managing Director, Tim Molloy said: “The IRN Awards celebrate the very best of commercial radio journalism and this year in addition to our usual categories we had some fantastic campaigning journalism entries covering the important issues such as mental health and rising suicide rates, changing sentencing guidelines for death by dangerous driving, loneliness amongst the elderly, and encouraging CPR to be taught more widely. These and many other excellent entries highlighted how commercial radio news makes a valuable contribution to the local community.”

The IRN Awards celebrate achievement in commercial radio journalism, held in the Sky Cinema and hosted by Sky News presenter Kay Burley.

See the full winners list here.

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4 Comments
  1. joe says

    To be fair a six-year old could have outwitted Diane Abbott – and also produced more credible figures than she managed.

  2. Martin says

    Nick Ferrari wasn’t really playing the part of the voters. He works for Londons Biggest Conservatives and is a Tory boy himself.
    There was bias in that interview in the way it was conducted. He managed to stay within the code of conduct but a Tory would’ve had a much easier time of it.
    Lets hear him stick it to a Tory the way he railroaded Diane Abbott.

    1. Joe Smith says

      I agree Ferrari is awful but he was hardly the only one to railroad Diane Abbott was he?

  3. Mr Boltar says

    Getting one over on Diane Abbot is the media equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel. As for Ferrari – if the lefties think he’s awful then he’s obviously doing something right.

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