Shetland Times news editor Jim Tait was named Feature Writer of the Year at last night’s Highlands and Islands Press Awards.
His portfolio of work included an interview with convicted drug dealer Paul Grant who spoke about his jail sentence and return to the Shetland rugby team. A profile of D-Day veteran Geordie Mainland and a colour piece about the 2014 Up-Helly-A’ celebration completed his entry.
Mr Tait said it was a privilege to have won the award and he thanked both Mr Grant and Mr Mainland for their help in compiling the respective features. Mr Tait also had praise for former Shetland Times editor Vaila Wishart, who helped him make the transition into the newsroom.
He said: “It’s both an honour and a privilege to win an award such as this. First of all I’d like to thank my former editor Vaila Wishart for the support she gave me when deciding on a career change all those years ago.
“She was and remains a highly respected figure in Highlands and Islands journalism, that was evident from those asking after her at last night’s event.
“I’m also grateful to the current editor Adam Civico and the rest of the staff at The Shetland Times for their support. I think the paper continues to uphold the high standards folk have become accustomed to.
“Finally, any decent feature needs people to tell their story, and I’m immensely grateful to Paul Grant and Geordie Mainland for sharing theirs with me.”
Mr Civico said the award highlighted the strength in depth among the newspaper’s editorial staff.
“Jim speaks of the high standards readers expect of The Shetland Times. As a news editor and writer he provides a fine example of how to uphold those standards and his award is well deserved.
“His victory follows Ryan Taylor’s win in the Reporter of the Year category last year, while this year photographer Dave Donaldson was also shortlisted in the final of two categories: Photographer of the Year and Shot of the Year.
“Unfortunately, he missed out but deserves great credit for the standard of photos which took him to the final.
“It shows what a fantastic editorial team we have at The Shetland Times. Week in and week out they work incredibly hard to bring readers the most comprehensive coverage of what is happening in Shetland.”