Trainee journalists have been awarded for their reporting skills at a celebration ceremony to mark the end of their De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) degree course.
Alison Martin, deputy news editor of the Leicester Mercury, joined Gary Sherrard, Head of Communications at Leicester Tigers and Pete Wardman of BBC Radio Leicester to hand out prizes to the students, who will officially graduate in July.Tutors at the NCTJ-accredited Leicester Centre for Journalism organized the event to recognize the talent and hard work shown by single and joint honours students throughout the three-year course.
Beth Smith won the Leicester Mercury District Reporter of the Year award after impressing tutors with her ability to dig out stories from around the city.
She said: “I am so honoured, I really did not expect this! The course has been amazing, we have all enjoyed it so much.”
Alison – who is a former DMU graduate herself – had words of advice for the young reporters: “Journalism is all about eyes and ears, spotting stories and talking to people. It really does make such a difference if you are finding the stories – it’s such a better buzz then if writing a press release and waiting for emails. Always be on the lookout and always be thinking about the best angle, it’s the way to stand out to future employers.”
Best Arts and Ents reporter was Sam Chambers. The award was presented by tutor Andy Plaice, a regular reviewer for national magazines and websites, and who is writing a book on theatre criticism.
Sam said: “My passion is music and I did a feature on a local band, Casino Empire who are now Arcades. I never thought I would like theatre but I’ve found a new appreciation for drama on this course. Criticism is difficult to do properly and Andy’s been brilliant.”
Mark Charlton, Head of Public Engagement at DMU and a former night editor on the Leicester Mercury, presented the Square Mile Community Reporter Award to Tim Ince.
Tim got involved with Square Mile as a way of finding out stories and discovered a love of community projects. He said: “I’ve been doing mentoring work, been to India with Square Mile India and working on canal clean up.”
He added: “I’ve had some unbelievable opportunities – the Square Mile have good stuff going on all the time. Working with the Square Mile I was able to give a voice to people who might not get written about.”
Ben Clarke was presented with a certificate and a signed rugby ball by Leicester Tigers Head of Communications, Gary Sherrard, after winning best sports reporter.
Ben has been working in the Tigers media team, interviewing players, working with the national press and writing match reports.
He said: “It’s been an great opportunity for us, we got to do so much and it gave us a real knowledge of what goes on in a press office where you’re dealing with national and international press every week. It’s great for the CV.”
Amina Osman won the BBC broadcast reporter prize, presented by BBC Radio Leicester’s Pete Wardman.
Former Journalism graduate Adam Redfern, who is now DSU Vice-President Media and Communications and Sian Brewis of DMU media office presented Paige Caldeira and Cherelle Cawthorne with prizes after they won a #DMUmemories photo competition.
DMU’s Leicester Centre for Journalism has set up Facebook and LinkedIn groups has been set up to let the students keep in touch and post up jobs and opportunities.