All the night’s winners gather on stage. Photograph: newsawards

The Hackney Citizen last night won ‘Niche Market Newspaper of the Year’ at the prestigious newsawards 2019.

The awards “celebrate the best in news media print, digital and business innovation” across the UK.

At a black-tie gala compered by TV presenter Mark Durden-Smith at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, the Citizen was announced as the winner in the niche market category from a shortlist of seven publications.

It is the first time the paper has won the award after being nominated four times in a row.

Editor-in-chief Keith Magnum said: “In these challenging times for local journalism, we’re delighted to have been recognised nationally for our efforts to reinvigorate the local newspaper format and provide a quality read for our community.

“A huge thanks to our printers, Mortons Print, to our designer Paul Coomey, to the rest of the team who help put the paper together, and to our readers.”

Coomey, who has worked on the paper for ten years, said: “Through a series of design iterations, we’ve reached a visual appeal that avoids clutter and offers a clear path for our readers, bringing them closer to local news and events.”

In a category featuring publications as diverse as Cage & Aviary News – which got a huge cheer from the crowd when the list of nominees was read out – Church Times, Narc and The New European, the panel of judges focused on three main criteria.

These were: how successfully did the publication appeal to and engage with its readership? How well was the content supported by production quality? And was there evidence of commercial innovation?

On choosing the Citizen as the winner, the judges said: “Commended in 2017 and 2018, and finally taking top spot for 2019. This is a beautifully presented hyper-local read with traditional values and a modern twist.

“It was a stand-out publication, with perfect repro quality and superb printing on bright stock. Effective and relevant to its readers.”

Managing editor Max Eckersley and BBC local democracy reporter Ed Sheridan collected the award on behalf of the Citizen team.

Fashion and culture magazine The Essential Journal was highly commended by the judges in the niche market category, while Cage & Aviary News, Church Times, Narc, Photography News and The New European also received commendations.

The Guardian was the biggest winner on the night, taking home three awards, including the coveted Grand Prix.

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