The New Zealand Herald was declared the country's best daily newspaper, and our journalists won the two top reporting awards, at the Qantas media awards last night.

The Herald on Sunday, from the same publisher, APN, won the overall Newspaper of the Year after winning the best weekly award, in which the Weekend Herald was a finalist.

The judges were unable to decide between and in the overall best website category, so the two shared the award.

Listener magazine editor Pamela Stirling won the top individual honour, the Wolfson Fellowship to Cambridge University.

Reporter of the year and winner of the Qantas Cup was the Herald's Jared Savage, who the judges said emerged from a star line-up with the strongest all-round portfolio.

His work covered an exclusive on drug-dealing and money-laundering at the Sky City casino, Sir Edmund Hillary's family suing the Auckland Museum over documents, the Samoan tsunami and a police probe into ex-MP Roger McClay's expenses.

The award for best junior reporter went to Herald staffer Vaimoana Tapaleao for work the judges said would have pushed the senior finalists hard.

Tapaleao's portfolio included on-the-spot coverage of the tsunami in Samoa and a report remembering the individuals lost in the sinking in Tonga of the ferry Princess Ashika.

The Herald also won the Best Front Page for an entry which included coverage of the finding of the body of West Auckland tot Aisling Symes.

Judge of the overall newspaper awards, Jim Tully, of Canterbury University, said New Zealand was well-served by its metropolitan dailies.

"This is an age for innovation, not Luddites, and there is evidence aplenty of ongoing review and change."

He said the Herald's winning coverage of the Samoan tsunami, an international event of strong significance to New Zealand readers, was comprehensive, well-organised and resourced and told in "very human terms, enhanced by strong images and informative graphics".

Tully praised the Herald on Sunday as having demonstrated in its entry of four editions that it could consistently break strong news stories, rather than responding, albeit superbly, to newsworthy events.

Stirling won the award for best editorial writer before taking the supreme accolade of the evening, before 500 guests at Sky City.

The Listener's Jane Clifton was best columnist and the magazine won for best cover.

APN's Hawke's Bay Today won for best newspaper under 30,000 daily circulation.

The award for story of the year went to Martin van Beynen of The Press, Christchurch, for a feature after the trial and acquittal of David Bain.

Other Herald winners included photographers Babiche Martens for fashion and Christine Cornege for sport, writer Phil Taylor for political feature with his story on Government connections to Yang Liu, and contributors Karen Eyres (best headline) and Anna Crichton (best artwork).

Steven Orsbourn and Edward Gay from were the sole finalists in the category of best online story/project with community involvement for their 'surviving the recession' series. They were highly commended. won the online awards for best news and best breaking news story. Fairfax's Businessday was named best business website.