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Awards night: from grammar to glamour

Later tonight, all of the winners will be revealed as part of the 2019 Headlinemoney awards.

The event’s often referred to as the ‘Oscars’ for the UK’s financial journalists, PRs, and communications experts. Broadcaster Danny Wallace will be hosting the biggest gathering of the year in the financial media calendar.

Having been privileged enough to chair the judging for this year’s awards, I’m already privy to the results. And, no, before you ask, my lips are sealed with a combination of super glue and epoxy resin.

The winners will be announced in front of hundreds of financial journalists, PRs and other media luminaries at The Brewery in the City of London. Snippets from the evening will be streamed via Headlinemoney’s Twitter account (@Headlinemoney_) and the #HMAwards19 hashtag.

There’ll doubtless be much laughter, a smattering of disappointment, an overdose of gossip, and networking like there’s no tomorrow. As the evening unfolds, drink may even be taken (shock! horror!). Personally, I’m already thinking survivors’ breakfast.

Awarding gongs to journalists inspires a mixed reception among the profession. I’ve been lucky enough to win a few trophies down the years and fallen short on other occasions. Personally, I’ve always appreciated the recognition.

Some individuals get emotional when they win. Then there are the journalists just grateful for the wider appreciation of their work, especially if it’s from their peers as in the case of Headlinemoney.

Read all about it: Headlinemoney awards judging is serious business

Winning a trophy can also be a stepping stone to a new journalism job, especially for rising stars who have caught the eye of more experienced hacks with their efforts. Other journalists merely shrug off success content to get on with their next story.

Each to their own, I say, but would add this.

A key feature of the Headlinemoney awards – and I know this in 2019 from sitting in 30 hour-long judging sessions featuring over a hundred different financial journalists – is just how seriously the judges take their role.

They analyse the submissions in forensic detail. Judges turn up with impressive piles of notes and their own carefully-constructed scoring systems. It’s not uncommon for Rolodexes of questions to be produced aimed at fellow panellists.

What’s more, judges often look to ‘stand up’ claims on supporting statements as submitted by the shortlisted contenders. The judges are, after all, journalists who have no truck with any potential wool being pulled over their eyes. (“Actually, fellow panellists, this wasn’t an exclusive as claimed because…”).

I think this level of scrutiny is impressive, amazing and really important. Yes tonight, ostensibly, is a celebration of the financial media peppered with a multiplicity of silverware. But what really underpins it are those ancient twin arts of faithful reporting and reading.

With the Headlinemoney awards, all the contenders can be assured that their work has been read, re-read and read again. Like you’re taught to do as a journalist before firing your copy to a grumpy, if brilliant, news editor.

I wonder how many of us apply this level of concentration to the everyday reading matter that crosses our desk?