THE Kent Messenger has won the Weekly Newspaper of the Year title in the Regional Press Awards for 2003. It's one of the highest accolades for a paid-for weekly paper in the UK.
The Kent Messenger was on the short-list of finalists for the third time in four years.
Senior editor Ron Green, who collected the trophy at the London Hilton in Park Lane, said: "We had to prove to the judges that the Kent Messenger consistently provides excellent community journalism and great value-for money for our readers and advertisers week after week after week."
The title is the latest of several national awards to be won in three successful years by the KM, which is Britain's biggest selling weekly paper.
The regional press awards are organised by Press Gazette, the weekly magazine for journalists, in association with The National Lottery. Judges included senior editors and journalists from the national and regional press and broadcasting.
The awards ceremony was hosted by Channel 4 news anchorman Jon Snow who paid tribute to the quality of Britain's regional press.
Other winners included the Western Daily Press, The Argus, Brighton, Liverpool Echo, Manchester Evening News and The Star, Sheffield. Kent on Sunday was a finalist in the Free Newspaper of the Year category.
The Kent Messenger won the Press Gazette weekly newspaper of the year award in 1988 and then went on to collect the title of overall regional newspaper.
David Lewis, chief executive of the Kent Messenger Group, said: "The company's investment in new presses enables us to produce quality newspapers, which are increasingly good value for money.
"I know the team will be striving to keep this accolade. It is particularly pleasing for a family company to win national recognition."
Simon Irwin, the editorial director, said: "It was an honour to win this prestigious award which was a fitting tribute to all the hard work concerned by everyone at the KM.
"The judges said that the paper was 'there with its readers' which is exactly our aim and it was great to see that they recognised this."
The Weekly Newspaper of the Year title was sponsored by Royal Mail Group.
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