Big political breakfast: The Slugger Awards shortlist

Channel 4Politicians, journalists and community organisations are going head-to-head to collect a gong at this year’s Slugger O’Toole Political Awards, with the final nominees for each category having been announced. The awards ceremony will take place in the Black Box in Belfast on 10th February which is being kindly sponsored by Channel Four.

Three nominees for each of nine categories were chosen as an event attended by over 100 people following initial nominations that appeared here on the site. The next step is for a judging panel (details to follow) to choose the winners, who will receive their award on the awards night.

The nominees for the Slugger Awards 2011 are:

Investigative Journalism

  • Suzanne Breen: she never backs down
  • David Gordon: King of FoI
  • Darragh McIntyre for Robinson story and longstanding track-record in investigative journalism

Political Journalist of the Year

  • Eamonn Mallie for his blow-by-blow accounts, mixing both new media and old journalism
  • Mark Devenport for the Devonport Diaries – always there and the go-to-guy for Stormont
  • Brian Rowan: trusted, old-fashioned authority. Relies on facts and develops stories with real legs

Building Trust and Credibility in Politics/ Challenge your own Community

  • Dawn Purvis for her double jobbing bill as well as her move from the PUP
  • Martin McGuinness for flexibility and statesmanlike qualities for his handling of the Robinson affair
  • Conall McDevitt for his handling of the water crisis, work on public transport and communications skills

Constructive Opposition

  • Dawn Purvis as an articulate, reasoned, respectful politician, and conviction-driven, particularly on dual mandates
  • PAC team: Dawn Purvis, Patsy McGlone & John Dallat, especially for their work on NI Water issues
  • Basil McCrea, for constructive opposition within his own party

Up and Coming Politician

  • Colum Eastwood who played a strong role in the City of Culture bid and a mayor at such a young age
  • Simon Hamilton: very knowledgeable on a range of issues and forward-thinking
  • Conall McDevitt: a good communicator and very strong on committees

Creative Engagement

  • Steve Haslett of PSNI and Limavady DPP for engaging with hard-to-reach groups, helping to reduce road deaths, producing results and establishing links with Musgrave Park
  • Ards PSNI for creative use of social media e.g. facility to text to tell them your house is empty
  • DUP Party Conference for the party’s engagement with organisations and its questionnaire

Thinker and Explainer

  • Showcase at Magee for innovation, helping private sector and reducing barriers
  • William Crawley for his measured approach and his substance
  • Disability Action: a rights-based approach with good advocacy and high impact beyond their sector

Campaign of the Year

  • Derry/ Londonderry City of Culture bid put Derry on the map for a good reason and has already begun to change perceptions
  • The Older People’s Commissioner campaign: got a result and was visible
  • The Bloody Sunday campaign: didn’t choose the timescale or the result but the response was measured, which marked it out


Politician of the Year

  • Dawn Purvis for her integrity, work on PAC, position she took on UVF, stance on double-jobbing, etc
  • Naomi Long for East Belfast result and local commitment
  • Margaret Ritchie: symbolic act of wearing a poppy and not doing a pact with Sinn Féin. Also strong on child sexual abuse

Lastly, I need to thank Strategem who did a great job organising the event this morning and to UTV who were there to cover it – we hope we’ll be able to use a few clips from this morning on the awards night. It was a real pleasure to host over 100 people all thinking positively about what the awards were trying to acheive

The Awards are being held in association with public affairs company Stratagem and are sponsored by Channel 4.

Update – UTV Live’s coverage of the shortlisting …

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