Tanya Fowles was named Local Democracy Reporter of the Year at the 2022 Local Democracy Reporting Service Conference and Awards, held at Media City Salford.

Tanya, who is based at The Impartial Reporter, scooped the UK-wide award with a collection of work that included: 'Police Ombudsman enquiries into failures around an investigation into the murder of a 21-year-old' and 'The sexual assault of a vulnerable young person by a key worker'.

Category judge Lynne Anderson, Deputy Chief Executive of the News Media Association, said: “Tanya’s journalism ticked all the boxes of the judging criteria – and then some.

“Her reporting displays skill, an eye for detail, and a healthy dose of persistence to get her stories over the line.

“Her coverage of sexual abuse and drug use at a child safeguarding facility was a brilliant example of journalism shining a light into dark corners to bring out the truth and hold those in power to account.”

Mark Conway, editor of The Impartial Reporter commented: "Tanya is a tenacious, hard working and very fair journalist for whom getting to the heart of all stories is a labour of love.

"Her knowledge on press freedom within the court system is second to none and she has been rightly recognised for her efforts on this front. She has enjoyed considerable success in ensuring the administration of justice remains open and transparent against a growing tide of defendants and solicitors trying to negate that very principle.

"Tanya is always determined to hold public authority to account and to fight on behalf of her readers and the public. As such, Local Democracy Reporting is a perfect fit and all at The Impartial Reporter are delighted she has been recognised with this award."

From a competitive field of entries Tanya was joined on stage for the LDR of the Year Award by runners-up Gurdip Thandi of Birmingham Live, and Eddie Bisknell of the Derby Telegraph.

The awards were presented by Jackie Weaver, the Chief Officer of the Cheshire Association of Local Councils and the star of ‘that’ 2021 Handforth Parish Council viral video.

The conference was attended by almost 150 Local Democracy Reporters from across the United Kingdom.

The headline speaker was BBC Political Editor Chris Mason, who talked about his first six months in his high-profile role before taking questions from delegates.

Others to present at the two-day conference included disinformation expert Laura Garcia and De Montfort University Emeritus Professor Colin Copus, who explored the political decision-making processes of local government and the role and influence of party politics over those processes.

In addition, former Local Democracy Reporter James Illingworth offered advice and guidance on the relationship between journalists and local government communications teams from the perspective of his current role as media manager at Wigan Council.

In break-out sessions held across the conference, Kate Ironside - Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of Northampton - discussed reporting of the housing market, Samaritans media advisor Monica Hawley offered guidance on sensitive reporting of suicide, and Freedom of Information trainer Martin Rosenbaum provided practical strategies for getting the best out of FOI.