Oban-based freelance reporter Moira Kerr has been named Diageo Journalist of the Year at the annual Highlands and Islands Media Awards for the second time in three years.

Moira was the unanimous choice of the judges for her strength of writing across a number of categories. She also picked up the Feature Writer of the Year title and was shortlisted in the Top Story of the Year category.

Her prize, which includes £500, of which £300 will be gifted to a charity of her choice, was presented at the annual Highlands and Islands Press Ball in Inverness, organised by System2, on Friday February 1.  Moira was previously named Journalist of the Year in 2016.

The awards were presented by Keith Miller, Distillation and Maturation Director of Diageo, the principal sponsor of the Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards, held at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness.  He is pictured above with Moira Kerr.

Other sponsorship this year was provided by System2, Chivas Brothers, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the National Union of Journalists, Hub North Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Judges chairman Gordon Fyfe said: “Moira produces well researched, well written and highly engaging stories and features from her local community, many of which appear in national media outlets. Her work is of a consistently high standard, hugely deserving of our top award.”

Scottish Provincial Press journalists picked up three honours. The Inverness Courier editorial team won the Top Story of the Year award for a series of articles on alleged bullying at NHS Highland; Gavin Musgrove, editor of the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald, was named Reporter of the Year; and Gary Anthony was voted Photographer of the Year.

The Press and Journal collected two awards, Chris Maclennan was named Young Journalist of the Year and Andy Skinner Sports Reporter of the Year.

The Orcadian was crowned Newspaper of the Year and the Black Isle-based Chatterbox took the Community Newspaper of the Year title.

Top Shot of the Year was taken by Caithness freelance James Gunn, who captured  a spectacular image of a young wind surfer riding the waves in an international event at Thurso. Dave Flanagan, a freelance based in Orkney, won the Best Use of Digital category and Darren Laing won the Bòrd na Gàidhlig award for Best Use of Gaelic.

The former Highland-based BBC reporter Craig Anderson also received the Barron Trophy for lifelong achievement in journalism and a Special Recognition Award was presented to Nicola McAlley for her charity fundraising work.

The ball’s charity fundraising will benefit four local organisations: Birchwood Highland; Friends of Autism Highland; Dream, Believe, Achieve Highland; and the Elsie Normington Foundation Haven Centre Appeal

The full list of award winners is -

Best Use of Gaelic
Darren Laing

Best Use of Digital Media
David Flanagan, freelance, Orkney

Young Journalist of the Year (Alex Main Trophy)
Chris Maclennan, Press and Journal

Sports Reporter of the Year
Andy Skinner, Press and Journal

Photographer of the Year
Gary Anthony, Scottish Provincial Press

Top Shot of the Year 
James Gunn, freelance, Caithness

Reporter of the Year (Jim Love Memorial Trophy)
Gavin Musgrove, Strathspey and Badenoch Herald

Top Story of the Year
Inverness Courier Editorial Team

Feature Writer of the Year
Moira Kerr

Community Newspaper of the Year
Chatterbox

Newspaper of the Year
Orcadian

Diageo Journalist of the Year
Moira Kerr

Barron Trophy for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism
Craig Anderson

HIPBMA Special Recognition Award
Nicola McAlley