Although Simon usually spends his afternoons on the BBC News channel, on Friday, July 10 he’ll be hosting the KPBA ceremony at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury.
Entries are now open for the not-for-profit awards scheme, which is organised by Tunbridge Wells-based PR and marketing agency Maxim, and is designed to celebrate and reward regional and local journalism.
Simon McCoy said: “It's something of a shock to be asked to present this year's awards - because I've done it before and it means they're asking me back!
“Starting as I did in regional journalism - print and TV - I know how important the future of local journalism is. We are constantly told of the imminent demise of local newspapers and local TV news. I have heard it many times before. And always this kind of journalism goes from strength to strength. It is valued by the readers and viewers. And, most importantly, it is trusted.
“It is a great pleasure to be able - once again - to take part in a ceremony which rewards those at the top of their profession. I look forward to it.”
Simon began his broadcasting career when he joined TV-am as a news editor, leaving in 1988 to go to Sky, initially as a producer on the Sky News breakfast programme Sunrise.
He joined the BBC in 2004, presenting on both BBC Breakfast and the BBC News channel, subsequently taking over the morning slot on BBC News, the BBC’s rolling news network. He is also regularly seen on BBC1 throughout the day as the main bulletin presenter.
Maxim’s Rachel Knight said: “It’s very much a case of ‘being back by popular demand’ as we had overwhelmingly positive feedback when Simon first hosted the ceremony. His sense of humour and popularity, combined with a clear passion for local journalism, made it an easy choice to ask him back.”
An independent judging panel reviews every awards entry. The panel consists of Susie Boniface, a national journalist known as Fleet Street Fox; PA photographer Gareth Fuller; digital consultant Patrick Fuller; Gillian Hargreaves, who spent 25 years with BBC News; Graham Jones, a former national sports journalist who now works as an online and sports journalism lecturer; Rebecca Smith, former senior editor for Kent Regional News and Media; journalist and lecturer Dr Sarah Lonsdale; and Leo Whitlock, a local newspaper journalist for more than 20 years, much of which was spent at the KM Media Group.
Rachel added: “As well as the 15 categories covering print, broadcast, digital, social media and design, this year the judges will pick their favourite story and award the author the ‘golden pen’ award. They often find there’s a few entries that aren’t necessarily at the top of their category but are brilliant in other ways – and this will allow those stories to be recognised.
“We have also split the feature category – which is always the most popular in terms of the number of entries received – into print and broadcast, making it easier to judge. There should be a category for everyone, however large or small you are in terms of readers, listeners, viewers or indeed budget.
“We still have a few sponsorship opportunities left so if you are interested in supporting the county’s media and taking advantage of this unique opportunity to network with many of Kent’s journalists and senior editors, please get in touch. KPBA wouldn’t exist without the support of our sponsors so we’re extremely grateful that many return year after year.”
The categories are:
The deadline for entries is 5pm on Thursday, April 9. To find out more, visit www.kpbawards.co.uk. For information on becoming a category sponsor, contact Rachel Knight on 01892 513033 or email email@example.com.
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