In print and online, the Mail triumphs at journalism Oscars... and the 'amazing' Craig Brown gets a hat-trick

The Daily Mail has swept the board at the prestigious annual Press Awards – the Oscars of British journalism.

The Mail triumphed as both Newspaper of the Year and Website of the Year, in total taking an unprecedented nine accolades.

Brilliant humorous columnist Craig Brown was the biggest individual winner, the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday writer becoming the first journalist to scoop three honours in a year.

The Mail won the title for Campaign of the Year because of its coverage of the Stephen Lawrence case

The Mail won the title for Campaign of the Year for its continued coverage of the Stephen Lawrence case

Judges at the awards, run by the Society of Editors, praised the Daily Mail for its ‘hard-hitting journalism, virulent opinion, remorseless commitment, courage and conviction’ and described it as a ‘consistently must-read product’.

The industry agreed it was ‘the Mail’s night’, with our coverage of the racist murder of 18-year-old student Stephen Lawrence winning both Campaign of the Year and the Cudlipp Award, which recognises excellence in popular journalism.

The judges said the campaign was ‘proof of what a free Press is all about... and essential reading for Lord Justice Leveson’. ‘The Mail campaigned for nearly 20 years before it helped Stephen Lawrence’s family achieve justice for their murdered son,’ they added.

‘The vital moment came as two of the men named by the Mail as murderers were put on trial in November. Its success was widely acknowledged when the guilty verdicts were announced.’

In relation to the Cudlipp Award, the judges said: ‘The paper’s success in achieving justice for the Lawrence family was acknowledged by rival newspapers as an important reminder of the value of an independent and widely read Press free of government control.’

Nine times a winner

Accepting the Campaign of the Year award, the Editor in Chief of Associated Newspapers, Paul Dacre, praised the determination of Stephen’s parents: ‘I’d like to pay tribute to Doreen and Neville Lawrence, who are the real heroes of this story.

‘This is unfinished business. There are still other guilty people out there.’

MailOnline Publisher Martin Clarke said: ‘This is an amazing tribute both to the effort and professionalism of everyone in the online team and also to their print colleagues, whose work underpins everything we do.’

‘I am proud to have been able to accept the award on their behalf and would particularly thank the digital staff who have done such an outstanding job to introduce the Mail to an entirely new audience both here and abroad.’

Coincidentally, the award for MailOnline came on the same day that it achieved a new landmark, overtaking the New York Times’ daily traffic for the first time, according to the respected independent web metrics company, Comscore.

In February it recorded an average of 6,265,000 unique visitors a day, compared with the NYT’s 6,239,000

MailOnline previously overtook the NYT’s monthly traffic in December to become the world’s biggest newspaper website and remained ahead on that metric in February with 47,448,000 unique visitors.

On winning Newspaper of the Year, Mr Dacre said: ‘I’d just like to pay the most enormous tribute to all the journalists on the Daily Mail and MailOnline, our new very successful, equal partner.

‘I pay tribute to their extraordinary, selfless commitment, I pay tribute to their huge professionalism and talent. I’m very proud of them.

‘I’m also very, very proud of the British newspaper industry. And I’d like to say that for the most part I still believe it is the greatest newspaper industry in the world.’

The Mail also won News Team of the Year. David Jones won Feature Writer of the Year and was described by the judges as combining ‘forensic news reporting with stylish writing’.

Ben Todd scooped the Showbiz Reporter award for the ‘variety’ of his stories. City Editor Alex Brummer was Highly Commended in the Business and Finance Journalist category.

The citation for MailOnline – now the world’s biggest newspaper website – said it was ‘difficult to argue with the readers’ verdict’ which had brought it success both here and in the U.S.

The ‘large amount of original content makes it essential reading in the newsrooms of competitors’.

Mr Clarke said: ‘I like to think what we do on MailOnline encapsulates the best of Fleet Street.’

Peter Wright, Editor of The Mail on Sunday for the past 14 years, was presented with a judges’ special award.

‘He has nurtured and championed great journalism,’ the judges said.

'Amazing' Brown’s treble win

Mail columnist Craig Brown with his three awards at the UK Press Awards

Mail columnist Craig Brown with his three awards at the UK Press Awards

Craig Brown won a record-breaking three awards – Columnist of the Year and Best of Humour for the Daily Mail, and Critic of the Year for The Mail on Sunday.

The judges said it was ‘amazing how he manages to do so much, to such a high standard of humour’.

They added: ‘Brown fills the Mail’s need to leaven the gloomier news with fun and humour.

‘Readers say his column is the first thing they turn to as an antidote to the more serious news of the week.’

Of his work as a critic, the judges described his writing as ‘elegant, perceptive – and compulsively readable’.

‘Week by week Brown demonstrates his breadth of knowledge and versatility with book reviews that range from bitingly funny to tender and moving. Nothing pretentious or muddle-headed is allowed to pass him by,’ they said.

Brown, 54, joined the Daily Mail in 2009. A satirist known for his work for Private Eye, he has also written 18 books, as well as many series for Radio 4, which have starred, among others, Harry Enfield, Rory Bremner and Eleanor Bron. Along the way, he has won shelves of awards.

Collecting his second award of the night on Tuesday, Critic of the Year, Brown said: 'I feel a bit like the passenger in the cocktail bar of the Titanic who said to the waiter: "I know I asked for ice but this is ridiculous".'

When he returned for a third time, he quipped that he wished he had saved his Titanic joke.