Published on 15th June 2018
The 2018 Stuart Seaton Regional Newspaper and Journalist Award has been won by the Cumberland News and farming editor Maureen Hodges.
This award is made annually in memory of former Farmers Guardian editor Stuart Seaton, whose daughter is one of the judges.
There were four entries – all of a high standard.
But judges picked the Cumberland News and its farming and rural affairs editor Maureen based on regional relevance, quality of content, readability, layout and journalistic skill
She is responsible for the farming news pages pages and a monthly farming section.
Judges liked Maureen’s very clear and incisive writing, wide variety of relevant topics and depth of interest.
They also commented on her use of off-diary stories and interviews which wouldn’t have arisen from easily-accessible press releases or political announcements.
Maureen has spent 25 years covering Northumberland and now Cumbria – both big farming counties.
Recent controversial issues covered include the proposed reintroduction of the lynx, and working with the NFU to highlight to the general public the impact of bovine TB on the farming community.
But in all cases her reporting is fair and balanced, offering the public an opportunity to see both sides.
The award was announced by Guild chairman Catherine Lunch at the Guild's annual Bangers 'n' Beer event on the first day of the 2018 Cereals event.
Maureen was unable to attend so the award was accepted on her behalf by husband Peter Hodges.
More than 70 Guild Members attended the reception, held on 13 June at Chrishall Grange, near Duxford, Cambridgeshire.