Midlands newspaper legend sits in judgement on region’s journalists

Former newspaper editor Keith Parker has taken over as chairman of the judges of this year’s Midlands Media Awards, which takes place next month.

 Keith, best known for an 18-year stint in the editor’s hotseat at the Express and Star, has this week been sifting through the entries for the awards with a panel of seven judges.

Other judges include former Birmingham Post business editor Fred Bromwich, ex-Central News presenter Llewela Bailey, and Brian Bould, a former photographer with the Daily Mail.

Among the judges’ tasks is to find a successor for the Midlands’ region’s ‘Newspaper of the Year’, which was last year named as the The Nottingham Evening Post.

Keith Parker, seated, with the Midlands Media Awards 09 judges (left to right): Brian Bould, awards organiser and PR consultant Isabel Clarke, Llewela Bailey, Fred Bromwich and Sue Heseltine (senior lecturer in journalism, Birmingham City University). Also pictured (behind Keith Parker) is Kathrine Ohm Thomas of the Radisson Hotel, who hosted the judging day.

Keith Parker, seated, with the Midlands Media Awards 09 judges (left to right): Brian Bould, awards organiser and PR consultant Isabel Clarke, Llewela Bailey, Fred Bromwich and Sue Heseltine (senior lecturer in journalism, Birmingham City University). Also pictured (behind Keith Parker) is Kathrine Ohm Thomas of the Radisson Hotel, who hosted the judging day.

The 2009 winner will be unveiled at a glittering ceremony at New Bingley Hall, Birmingham, on 18 June, together with the winners of the other categories that make up the seventh Midlands Media Awards.

Keith Parker said he was delighted to have been asked to chair the judges’ panel. He said: “The Midlands has the finest newspapers and media outlets of any region and as judges we realise we are going to have a tough task ahead of us. 

“This year has been especially difficult for everyone because of the recession but journalists throughout the Midlands have responded magnificently.”

Keith followed his 18 years editorship of the Express and Star by becoming managing director of the Wolverhampton-based newspaper group, until his retirement four years ago.

He is a former president of the Guild of Newspaper Editors, past chairman of the Newspaper Qualifications Council and a former member of the Press

Complaints Commission and of the Data Protection Tribunal. In 1993 he became an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to journalism.

John Lamb, chairman of Birmingham Press Club, said: “It is an honour for us to have someone as respected as Keith as chairman of the judges.

“He takes over from Daily Telegraph assistant editor, Andrew Pierce, who has done a great job for us in previous years, but is this year is tied up with the scoop of the decade, exposing the activities of the not so honourable members of Parliament.

“We’re hoping that once the dust has settled, Andrew will come up and talk about that story at a future Press Club event. Watch this space!”

*This year’s awards features on online category for bloggers and ‘citizen journalists’, which can be voted for by the public.

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