The Guardian was named newspaper of the year at the press awards for its reporting on government surveillance.
The prize was one of a host given to the Guardian and its journalists, with theguardian.com handed the digital award and the writers Rob Evans, Paul Lewis and Patrick Kingsley all honoured at the ceremony in London.
The judges said the Guardian “broke a story of global significance that went to the heart of the debate on press freedom. The fact that the coverage polarised opinion even within the press showed how important it was.
“The job of a newspaper is to speak truth to power and the past year has seen the Guardian do this with will and verve.”
After the ceremony, held by the Society of Editors in London, the Editor in Chief of Guardian Newspapers Alan Rusbridger toasted whistleblowers and dedicated the newspaper of the year award to former Guardian deputy editor Georgina Henry. Henry, who launched Comment is Free in 2006, died this year aged 53.
Rusbridger said: “It’s a great honour for the Guardian to be named newspaper of the year by a jury of our peers. The story was not, in the end, publishable out of London and I want in particular to thank colleagues on ProPublica and the New York Times for collaborating with us. The support of editors and press freedom bodies around the world was also crucial.
“I want to acknowledge the personal cost to Edward Snowden involved in his decision to become a whistleblower. I must thank a team of extremely talented colleagues on the Guardian. And I dedicate the award to our friend and former deputy editor, Georgina Henry, who died recently.”
As well as its coverage of the Snowden revelations, the judges were impressed by theguardian.com’s innovative reporting of the Holmes family’s desperate attempts to escape the Tasmanian firestorm, among other projects.
The digital award was accepted by network editors Emily Wilson and Clare Margetson, who also dedicated it to Georgina Henry.
Evans and Lewis won the news reporter of the year category for their work on undercover policing , including the revelation that police spied on the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence and that police spies stole the identities of dead children in order to carry out the work.
Kingsley was named young reporter of the year for his work in Egypt. He reported on accusations of war crimes against the country’s military, and the men behind the Muslim Brotherhood, which was central to the Arab Spring, but later became the target of violent protests.
Highly commended by the judges were the Guardian’s Ian Jack in the broadsheet columnist category, which was won by the Financial Times’ Gillian Tett; and Peter Bradshaw in the critics field, with the Rowan Moore of the Observer taking home the award.
The Guardian was also highly commended for its work on the Snowden files in the scoop of the year category.
The Observer’s Chris Riddell was highly commended in the cartoonist category, which was won by the Times’ Peter Brookes.
The Observer’s Tech Monthly supplement was also highly commended by the judges.
The prize for best front page went to the Sunday People for its picture of Charles Saatchi grabbing Nigella Lawson’s throat, and the Mail on Sunday’s story exposing then Co-operative Bank chief Paul Flowers was named scoop of the year.
The Mail also won the award for news team of the year, while the prize for best sports team went to the Times. The prestigious Cudlipp Award went to the London Evening Standard.