Several BBC local radio journalists are set to be recognised by the Broadcasting Press Guild for their interviews with former prime minister Liz Truss.

Local radio journalists working across the UK, including in Leeds, Stoke and Lancashire, will be honoured with the BPG Jury Prize at an awards ceremony on Friday.

It follows a proposal announced by the BBC in October that would see local radio stations share more content and broadcast less programming unique to their areas.

Industrial strikes
NUJ members at the BBC on the picket line at Broadcasting House in London, over changes to local radio programming (James Manning/PA)

Many journalists took part in strike action earlier this month in response to the proposed cuts, which the broadcaster previously confirmed would lead to the loss of 48 jobs across local staffing in England.

A total of eight journalists – Rima Ahmed from BBC Radio Leeds, James Hanson from BBC Radio Bristol, Graham Liver from BBC Radio Lancashire, Anna Cookson from BBC Radio Kent, John Acres from BBC Radio Stoke, Chris Goreham from BBC Radio Norfolk, Sarah Julian from BBC Radio Nottingham and Amy Oakden from BBC Radio Tees – will receive the award in recognition of their interviews with Ms Truss during her short time as prime minister.

Chairman of the BPG Grant Tucker said: “As an organisation of journalists, the BPG is always among the first to see the value of great interviewing and these BBC radio interviews were game-changing for Liz Truss and her doomed government.

“There is no doubt that the PM’s feet were held to the fire in these eight radio sessions in a way that stood out among so much drama that was happening in British politics last summer.”

It is the first time the BPG Jury Prize has been awarded to multiple winners.

The Jury Prize was previously awarded to director and producer Michael Apted in 2020 for the 7 Up documentary series made by Granada Television for ITV.

Following the news, the BBC’s controller local audio commissioning Chris Burns, said: “No one knows their audience better than our BBC Local radio teams so they knew exactly what to ask Liz Truss when the time came. It was clear this was a special listen as soon as the first interview went out live from Leeds then the reaction on social media was phenomenal. It really was an iconic moment in local radio and also for how we work digitally as the interviews were then packaged up into the most popular Newscast episode of all time for BBC Sounds.

“Our presenters – as they always do – were speaking for the communities they serve, as well as the whole country when they asked those questions. That is the beauty of local audio. We are immensely proud of everything local BBC radio does and it’s fantastic to see the work acknowledged with this award.”

It was previously announced that during the awards ceremony, which will take place at the Royal Horseguards Hotel in London on Friday, veteran broadcaster Jeremy Paxman will be presented with the BPG’s Harvey Lee Award for his outstanding contribution to broadcasting.

The 72-year-old is known for his successful television career, which included presenting the BBC’s Newsnight and University Challenge.

Other prizes set to be handed out during the ceremony include those for best audio presenter, best radio programme and best podcast, as well as for best actor and best actress, best drama, best comedy, best entertainment and best documentary.