News Corp.'s 'The Times' Honored as U.K. Newspaper of the Year

DOWN: Rupert Murdoch

A U.K. phone-hacking report says Rupert is "unfit" to run the company and James showed "willful ignorance" to issues at News International.

The "Sunday Times" and "The Sun" also win awards, but the latter continues to deal with fallout from probes launched amid the phone-hacking scandal.

LONDON -- The Times, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., was named U.K. newspaper of the year at the annual Press Awards on Thursday.

News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper arm, News International, had a strong showing, also winning three other awards for the daily, five for the Sunday Times and two for tabloid The Sun.

The honors bring some positive buzz for News International, which has been mostly in the news amid the continuing fallout from the phone-hacking scandal. The Sun, in particular, has continued to deal with probes launched amid the scandal.

Murdoch held a meeting with Sun journalists on Wednesday, promising to continue to pay the legal fees of staffers dealing with allegations of payments to public officials in return for stories, the Guardian reported. It said he wanted to allay fears that their careers were in limbo as they continue to be bailed following initial arrests about a year ago.

Also, on Friday, former British police and prison officials admitted to selling information to The Sun, becoming the first to plead guilty in a probe into illegal payments by journalists to public officials. And former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks and former News of the World editor Andy Coulson made a brief court appearance on charges of conspiring to bribe public officials. Their cases were adjourned.

The Press Awards for the News International papers, meanwhile, put a positive spotlight on their work.

The Sun won the showbiz reporter of the year and the columnist of the year honors. The Times got prizes for paper of the year, best news team, best news reporter and best scoop. The Sunday Times won awards for foreign reporting, sports journalism, the best feature writer, interviewer and best sports team.

Twitter: @georgszalai