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Inverness Courier team shortlisted for two Regional Press Awards

By Andrew Dixon

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Two over our front pages during our Dual The A9 campaign.
Two over our front pages during our Dual The A9 campaign.

The Inverness Courier team are up for an impressive double at the Regional Press Awards.

We have been shortlisted for campaign of the year for Dual The A9, as well as the reporting communities award.

Sarah Fyfe, head of content and audience at Courier publisher Highland News & Media, said: "These are two categories that we feel incredibly proud to be in because they display our unwavering commitment to shine a light on issues and people who might otherwise be forgotten."

The Courier launched its Dual The A9 campaign last February after the Scottish Government admitted that their original pledge to dual the A9 from Inverness-Perth by 2025 was unachievable, with a gravestone on a front page which went viral and has since helped win the News Media Association’s Making a Difference award 2023 and has contributed to other awards nominations.

"We made such a huge noise that the government had to listen, and we became the only regional media to be granted a leadership debate with all three First Minister candidates," Mrs Fyfe said. "This was held in Inverness, attended by an audience of hundreds who put their questions to the candidates, and was live-streamed to thousands of people.

"As well as a dedicated Dual The A9 section of our website, we were keen to force action, so we staged an A9 Crisis Summit in July. The panel included transport secretary Mairi McAllan, senior Transport Scotland officials, Fergus Ewing SNP and a local business representative. On the day we heard from people who lost loved ones on the road, local councillors, concerned members of the public, and industry experts."

This prompted us to present a list of demands to the First Minister, who later signed an exclusive A9 pledge with the Courier following the transport secretary's announcement of a new 2035 deadline to complete the project.

The reporting communities nod is an acknowledgement of our broader ambition to represent the people we serve. The Courier has journalists aged from 17 to mid-70s who are working hard to create inclusive spaces for our readers through the likes of our LGBTQ+ newsletter, Menopause & Me campaign, and work we have done surrounding addiction recovery.

"These are authentic spaces because they were started by members of staff who have lived through these experiences," Mrs Fyfe said. "As a company, it's a priority for us to not only support our team, but to help them advocate for themselves and others. We find that outwardly showcasing our commitment to amplify under-served voices directly impacts our ability to hire a diverse team. It is through these empathetic individuals that we can better understand important issues and inform our readers."

Winners will be named in London on April 16.

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