WESTMORLAND Gazette Business Editor Jim Smith was a runner-up in the weekly newspaper journalist of the year section of the Northern Business Journalist Awards.

Jim was one of five business journalists from across the region to be shortlisted for the award, which was won by a journalist from the Wakefield Express.

The awards, sponsored by energy supplier npower and open to journalists working from north of the River Trent up to the Scottish border, aimed to recognise and celebrate the best in business journalism in the region.

Entries were assessed by a panel of judges, which included Prof Peter Cole, head of journalism at Sheffield University; Mike Ward, head of journalism at Central Lancashire University; Richard Frost, head of PR for npower; Damian Waters, regional director for the North West CBI; and Ken Symon, Business Editor of The Sunday Herald, Glasgow.

Entrants were invited to submit three examples of their work, which were judged on preparation and research; originality; clarity of material; and quality of the information imparted.

Richard Frost, of npower, said: "This is the first time that npower has sponsored the awards and we are delighted to be bringing them back after a three year absence.

"We were very pleased to receive so many entries this year, most of which were of an exceptionally high standard. I would like to congratulate all those who were short-listed for an award; to be one of the final five chosen is a great achievement. The judges felt the winning entries confirmed that the North of England has a very high standard of journalists working in both the print and broadcast media."

The awards were presented on Thursday night at the Marriott Hotel, Leeds, where BBC radio and TV presenter Jeremy Vine was the host.