Chairs of Judges

Gail Walker

Freelance Media Consultant, Specialist Writer and Commentator

Gail Walker was the first woman editor of the Belfast Telegraph, from 2015-2020. She began her career as a graduate trainee on the newspaper as a news  reporter during the Troubles and went on to cover the peace process and the emerging new Northern Ireland. She has won many awards for her journalism across news and features and as a columnist. In 2019,  the Belfast Telegraph was named Newspaper of the Year. With extensive experience across print and digital, Gail now works as a freelance media consultant, specialist writer and commentator. A regular contributor to national and international titles, she also continues to write a weekly column for the Belfast Telegraph.  

Peter Sands

Owner, Sands Media Services

Peter has been a journalist for more than 40 years. He trained on his home town paper, the Shields Weekly News, before moving to The Northern Echo. After a spell as chief sub of the late Evening Despatch he returned to the Echo as night-editor, deputy editor and then editor. He went on to become development editor of Westminster Press, owner of the Editorial Centre, non-executive director of Northcliffe Media, director at PA Training and from 2006-2011 was chairman of the judges in the Regional Press Awards. He has redesigned 90 newspapers and magazines and worked as a consultant for newspapers in Malta, India and China. His clients include many regional and national titles, including The Sun, The Telegraph, the i and the Daily Mirror. He now runs Sands Media Services with his wife Pam and is consultant trainer on the Daily Mail graduate programme in London, New York and Sydney. Peter is a recipient of the Journalists' Charity Award which 'recognises an individual or body that has made an outstanding contribution to journalism and journalists’. 


The Regional Press Awards