The Cambrian News is the best weekly newspaper in Wales.
Editor Mick O’Reilly and news editor Dylan Davies accepted the award — the first time the newspaper has won since 2018.
“This is a tremendous honour for the news team at Cambrian News and validates a lot of the work we do each and every week,” O’Reilly said.
The judges noted that the newspaper was fearless in its reporting and holding to account those in power, and the paper was highly successful in shining a light into places where many would prefer darkness.
“The news industry faces many challenges today and our resources are often stretched thin,” O’Reilly said.
“But that means we have to focus on the issues that are of most importance to the people of the region.
“While this award highlights the work we do in our weekly print editions, it’s important to remember too that our online presence is growing every day and is very important.
“Throughout 2022, some 4.6 million visitors clicked on our stories on cambrian-news.co.uk. In 2023, we are on course to hit close to 6 million views — a tremendous growth in our market and one that reflects the quality of our journalism every day.”
He said the award was recognition for the entire news team and all the staff at Cambrian News, adding that the entire team shares in the success.
As well as being nominated for Best Weekly Newspaper of the Year, the Cambrian News had a second nomination. Felix Nobes, a reporter at the paper who left in July to move to the West Bank, was also nominated for News Writer of the Year.
“Sadly, Felix didn’t win the award but even to be nominated and recognised by his peers for his work is a great achievement in itself,” O’Reilly said.
The judges were impressed by the Cambrian News’ hard-hitting campaigns such as Dirty old town that highlights the decay of the biggest town in Aberystwyth, and a series of news features by Nobes on poor water quality across the mid Wales region: The poo in our water.
They were also impressed by Hiding in Plain Sight — a report by reporter Chris Betley and the Cambrian News team on flaws in the register of sex offenders that allow for many convicted sexual offenders being able to change their name and addresses without the local community being aware.
“Every week, we set out to put together the most comprehensive package of news, sports, entertainment, business, features, opinion and farming news that we can.
“We can only do this with the continued support of our readers in print and online, and a special thanks is also due to our loyal customers and advertisers who support us,” O’Reilly said.
“Being named the Best Weekly Newspaper in Wales will spur us to even better things in the coming year,” the editor said.
“Sometimes we receive a lot of flak for calling out public bodies and leaders as we do. But we won’t be deterred and we will continue to hold those in power to account. The challenge for us now is to retain that title — and to go after the Best News Website in Wales in 2024.”
Tindle group editorial director Emily Woolfe said: “Congratulations to everyone at the Cambrian News for deservedly being recognised as being among the best media titles in Wales. It is fantastic to see the quality of their local editorial content recognised nationally.”
BBC international editor Jeremy Bowen and the group of journalists who exposed a culture of misogyny and sexism in the Welsh Rugby Union were also honoured at the awards.
Bowen won the headline Outstanding Contribution to Journalism award in recognition of his 40-year career reporting on conflicts from around the world.
Current affairs programme BBC Wales Investigates and freelance print and online journalist Liz Perkins were the joint recipients of the Journalism of the Year award for their separate investigations into the WRU scandal.
In making the award to BBC Wales Investigates: Welsh Rugby Under the Spotlight and to Liz Perkins, the judges said: “At its best, journalism holds power to account and gives a voice to those who have been forced to remain silent. This story was Welsh journalism at its best. Its brilliant execution showed the power of print, online and broadcast news, and produced a story that shocked Wales and then went around the world.”
There were double honours for the two recipients.
In addition to their shared Journalism of the Year award, BBC Wales Investigates was voted Video News and Current Affairs Programme of the Year and Liz Perkins was named Sports Journalist of the Year – again for the WRU story.
The awards’ headline sponsor was Camelot with support sponsor Creative Wales as well as a number of other sponsor companies.
A highly experience panel of judges, under the chairmanship of Jonathan Grun, chose the winners from more than 200 entries – a record for the awards, now in their ninth year.