THE Halesowen News was among the big winners at the Midlands Media Awards.

News reporter Adam Smith was named Weekly Reporter of the Year at a glittering ceremony at Villa Park last Thursday night.

The 38-year-old journalist beat off competition from both paid for and free weekly titles from across the Midlands.

The reporter won the award for his exclusive coverage of Sandwell Council's crisis-hit children's services, an investigation into the English Defence League and a story about Colley Lane Primary School's banning of the Black Country accent.

Peter Lowe, chairman of the judging panel, said: "Adam is clearly a journalist immersed in his local community.

"He delivers high quality and topical stories featuring a wide range of subjects often then picked up nationally."

Mr Smith, who began his journalistic career at the Lichfield Mercury in 2000 and joined the Halesowen News in 2009, was delighted with the win.

He said: "It was great to see the Halesowen News represented at the awards and I was over-joyed to win.

"It is nice that an old-school hack like myself can still cut it in this ever changing world of journalism."

Mr Smith, who penned the book Obama and Me under his pen name Steve Zacharanda, added: "However, I could not have won the award by myself, we are team at the Halesowen News and my colleague Sarah Cousin's hard work throughout the year allowed this to happen."