Berliner Guardian named newspaper of the year at British press awards

The Guardian was named newspaper of the year at the British Press Awards last night, six months after its historic change from broadsheet to Berliner format. The home secretary, Charles Clarke, presented the prize to the paper's editor, Alan Rusbridger, praising the Guardian for its new design and for its intelligent contribution to the British press.

Rusbridger said: "It was the most important year in the Guardian's recent history. In many respects it has been a lonely year, but I always had the conviction that one of the most important things about the British press is its variety and it would have been a dull old world if we had followed everyone else tabloid. This award celebrates something different, and that we have succeeded in our ambitions."

The paper made history last September when it adopted the new format and became the only national UK newspaper to print in full colour. The £80m investment was hailed as the biggest transformation of the paper since the Manchester Guardian first appeared in 1821.

The Berliner format, which is used by several mainland European titles, including Le Monde, had never before been adopted by a national newspaper in the UK. Its introduction followed relaunches of the Independent and the Times as tabloid newspapers and left only two national broadsheet dailies - the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times.

Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of Guardian Newspapers Ltd, said last night: "Going to the Berliner format has paid off in every way. It is a huge success journalistically and it has already made a significant contribution commercially."

The Sunday Times claimed the most prizes at the ceremony, winning awards for best cartoonist, best specialist, best foreign reporter and best feature writer.

The Guardian's sister paper, the Observer, which switched to the Berliner format earlier this year, won three awards. Observer Food Monthly was named supplement of the year, Rachel Cooke won best interviewer and Jay Rayner was named critic of the year.

The Daily Mirror and the Sun also won three awards each. The Guardian's Tom Jenkins was also named sports photographer of the year.

Last month, the Guardian was named "the world's best designed newspaper" by the Society for News Design. It was chosen ahead of 389 different titles from 22 countries around the globe and was said by the judges to be as close to "perfect" as it could possibly be.

Some industry figures claimed that this year's British Press Awards were devalued because three of Britain's biggest newspaper groups - the Telegraph Group, Associated Newspapers and Express Newspapers - boycotted the event. Their decision stems from last year's event, when an excess of alcohol, competitiveness and ill-feeling conspired to put the ceremony in the news for the wrong reasons. Sir Bob Geldof also made headlines when he took to the stage to attack the Daily Mail's coverage of Comic Relief as "a disgrace" and had a stand-up row with the Daily Mirror editor, Richard Wallace.

Although the new owners of Press Gazette, the trade magazine which organises the ceremony, tried to win back the dissatisfied publishers, they stood firm. As a result, the event was boycotted by the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, the London Evening Standard, Metro, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Express, the Sunday Express and the Daily Star.


Newspaper of the year

The Guardian

Sports photographer

Tom Jenkins, the Guardian

Supplement of the year

Observer Food Monthly

Interviewer of the year

Rachel Cooke, the Observer

Critic of the year

Jay Rayner, the Observer


Steve Busfield and Sam Jones

The GuardianTramp

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