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Student journalists take top prizes

11 December 2013

Rachel Atkinson

Success for undergraduates and recent graduates

Left – Megan Habberfield who collected the student publication prize from ITV’s News at Ten presenter Mark Austin.

Below – The UCLan team which was named runner-up in the best TV newsday category.
(Photo credit: Graham Harwood)

University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) journalism students and graduates are celebrating after scooping two prestigious industry awards.

The BA (Hons) Journalism students won the best student publication at the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) ceremony while a recent broadcast graduate won best radio item at the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) awards evening.

A team of print undergraduates, led by Megan Habberfield, won the student publication prize for their magazine The Baking Sheet. It was produced for independent UK bakeries by students on the NCTJ-accredited course.

“This award is so well deserved. Megan led her team into unfamiliar territory, went that extra mile - and more - and delivered the creative goods."

bjtc winners

The judges, who were Editorial Director at Kent Messenger Group Ian Carter and Group Managing Editor for Newsquest South London Andrew Parkes, said: “A superb entry that adopted a completely different approach to crack a niche market.

“Certainly cashing in on a craze sweeping the country, this entry used some great design and really interesting features to drag the reader in. It doesn’t matter whether you like baking or not, you’ll love this magazine.”

Cathy Darby, Course Leader for the BA and MA, said: “This award is so well deserved. Megan led her team into unfamiliar territory, went that extra mile - and more - and delivered the creative goods. My colleague Amy Binns and I are hugely proud of them scooping this first NCTJ award for UCLan's magazine journalism.”

Another UCLan publication The Preston Journal was announced as runner-up in this category.

“We had a wonderful day at the BJTC awards ceremony in Coventry and came home with two wins against strong competition from other universities across the UK."

At the BJTC awards, held in Coventry, 2013 graduate Laura Stack won the radio item prize for a story she did on Blackpool having the worst record for women smoking in pregnancy.

The judges said: ““Pregnant smokers was well produced with an interesting story and good breadth of content.”

Also, a UCLan team was named runner-up in the best TV newsday category. The judges praised the work of graduates Lauren Connor, Laura Stack, Phil Harvey, Matthew Parkinson, Veronica Sprizzi, Rebecca Livesey, Charles Craven and Hayley Moran.

They said: “This had a strong structure and sense of regional identity. The programme managed to travel around the North West, covering local stories in Warrington, Wirral, Blackpool, Preston, for example, reporting on issues that matter to the 'viewer'.”

Tutor Deborah Robinson added: “We had a wonderful day at the BJTC awards ceremony in Coventry and came home with two wins against strong competition from other universities across the UK.

“The awards won by our students are a testament to their talent, creativity and incredible hard work. Producing their news day and their individual projects required a range of skills, from research and writing to recording, filming, editing and reporting ‘live’.

“I am so proud of what our students have achieved and I hope the professionalism, versatility and multimedia skills we help them to develop will lead to long and successful careers for them.”