Three Iliffe Media Group journalists took home prestigious prizes at the Women in Local News 2022 Awards held in Birmingham.
Honouring the best female journalists from across the UK, the event, held at The International Convention Centre, saw three Iliffe Media reporters winning awards.
Having only joined the company in January 2022, Tamika Green, who works on our Suffolk News brand, picked up the Apprentice of the Year prize, the Stratford Herald's Gill Sutherland won Scoop of the Year and KentOnline's Lydia Chantler-Hicks picked up the much sought after Reporter of the Year gong.
Tamika said that her award entry focused upon her passion for representing diverse communities and this was something the judges picked up on.
Speaking at the awards she said: "I think it’s important because it’s not often that women get recognised in journalism. I think it’s particularly important, as a woman of colour, for the next generation of journalists to see that there are people from diverse backgrounds being commended and trying to make a difference in the industry.
"What I find most rewarding about the job is uncovering the colourful and diverse stories of people from Suffolk and celebrating their achievements. I’ve written a few features that really highlight this, from the story of Jo Ellen who fought for black rights during the civil rights movement in the 60s to songwriter Kieran Davis who has three number ones with Japanese and Korean boy bands.
"The feeling of uncovering a story that no other news outlet has is like nothing else and you want to find more."
Looking ahead to the coming year, Tamika added: "I want to continue to give representation to underrepresented communities, giving them a voice and the opportunity to see stories about issues close to their hearts."
Even though Gill Sutherland's award was for ‘Scoop of the Year’, judges mentioned three of her scoops in their citation, Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi’s no-show at a school awards evening where he was guest of honour on the very day he was appointed Secretary of State for Education, a carefully balanced interview with a 1940s-themed tea shop owner who had been accused of being a racist on Tripadvisor and an interview with the family of Emma Homer, who was assaulted and fake arrested by a drunken Warwickshire police officer a few months before Sarah Everard's murder.
Gill said: "I think all three stories demonstrate that the Herald takes very seriously the concerns of local people.
"They want to know what their MP is up to and that he is still working for them despite his Westminster career.
"With the tea shop, we gave the chance for the owner to be heard while nationally social media called for his immediate cancellation. We offered a place for reasonable and broad debate, both locally and nationally.
"For the Sarah Everard story, we held the police to account. Rather than publishing the force’s ‘good news’ press release, we questioned its veracity and heard from marginalised voices in the community who contradicted its claims.
"All three stories demonstrate that the Herald deals in unique locally-focussed content - these stories would simply not have emerged as there is no other local media dedicated to this sort of original coverage.
"It’s very telling that the national press picked up two of these stories to cover - evidence that local press is a vital life-force not just for local democracy and justice but for national news and issues too."
Lydia Chantler-Hicks picked up the Reporter of the Year prize, and although she was not able to be present at the awards a colleague accepted the gong on her behalf.
Making the award, the judges said: "She is the epitome of an excellent all-rounder, be it turning her hand to hard-hitting features, breaking news or shining a light on often over-shadowed topics.
"Her knack for telling a story has united her community to help make a positive and lasting difference.
"There is nothing more powerful and compelling in local journalism than giving a community a voice — and that is something she has done with aplomb.”