Cover me: winner of the DMU Journalism Magazine Cover Prize revealed

MAGnificent: the contenders in this year’s DMU Journalism cover prize competition

After much chin-stroking and deliberation, we can finally reveal the winner of the DMU Journalism Best Cover competition.

*Drum roll*

Enter Ricky Gervais in a tux and half a lager. There are some rude gags about students who didn’t turn up for their lessons, the perpetually broken coffee machine and lecturers and their bad jokes – and then, thankfully, it’s straight down to business.

Ladies and gentleman.

Finally… we have a winner in the third year PJ3 Best Magazine Cover of the Year competition.

The winner of the DMU Journalism Magazine Cover of 2022, as judged by FourFourTwo writer and deputy editor, Joe Brewin is … Twenty One.

‘IT MAKES ME WANT TO LOOK INSIDE & READ IT’: That was the view of our judge, Joe Brewin, deputy editor of FourFourTwo magazine

Congratulations to third year students Seema Mian, Samantha Johnston, Arabelle Akinfe and Lauren Sadler who scoop the annual prize of £200. (Editor’s note: You have to split that between you, by the way – it’s not each. Sorry.) 

Joe Brewin, who came to DMU earlier in the year to give a talk to students on effective magazine designs, said he was impressed with the quality of work on show this year.

“It was a tough competition to judge and difficult pick a winner,” he said. “It was very tight.”

So what did he make of this year’s cover stars?

“I would say, in summing up, that Adore comes with the good hook of a cover star and some nice lines, but perhaps they’re a little bit lost with the white-on-white design,” he said.

Gen Fem looks smart but is probably a little generic with its offerings on the top strap – I like to know a little bit more on the stories am I actually going to find inside? 

Ocio is probably the strongest in terms of layout and compelling cover lines, but the cover story is perhaps on the weaker side and looks a bit like a travel brochure?

Taboob – fair play on taking the plunge with that name, and it’s arguably the most striking design of the lot on the newsstand. But does it have enough hooks?

“And then Twenty One: this has the best cover shot, and a couple of really solid, compelling cover lines, but perhaps not the best font. 

“So, on that basis, I’m going to very narrowly give it to Twenty One – it’s got some attitude, the colour should pop on a newsstand and, ultimately, it makes me want to go look inside and read the stories.”

Seema Mian, one of the writers/designers of TwentyOne, said she was proud and delighted that her group scooped the award.

“Aw, I just feel so happy to have won this and so proud of the group – Samantha, Lauren and Arabelle.” she said.

WINNERS: The journalists behind Twenty One magazine. From left to right, Lauren Sadler, Samantha Johnston, Seema Mian and Arabelle Akinfe.

“It was a good group, we got on well, we worked hard and there were some good stories and nice designs in Twenty One so I’m so pleased all that has been recognised.

“When I finally received the magazine, it was so satisfying seeing the stories and design in print. It made them come alive. It looked and felt like a proper magazine.

“The girl on the cover is a model. I showed it to her and she was pleased with it she wanted a copy, too. I hope that’s a good sign of how effective it was.”

Special report: the agonising disease affecting millions of women each day

Excruciating pain.

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Anger and frustration at not

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The women who suffer this

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Philippa Blakeley reports.

The agonising disease afflicting millions of women each day
Special report on endometriosis

You’ve got to admire their front! Winners revealed for the 2021 magazine cover prize

A stylish magazine which would shine on the nation’s newsstands is the winner of the 2021 cover prize for Journalism students at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Escape is an elegant health and lifestyle mag with a design to grace any coffee table. The one-off publication, which was created by DMU students Izzi Rix, Matthew Childs and Abbie Wilkinson as part of the final year of their Journalism degree, beat off strong challenges by rival titles to claim the annual award.

The prize was judged this year by Joe Brewin, deputy editor of the biggest football magazine in the world, FourFourTwo, who said he was “genuinely really impressed” with the standard of the magazines on the shortlist.

But it was Escape, with its serene cover image created by up-and-coming young illustrator Liv Phillips, that really caught his eye. He said: “I immediately know what I’m getting with it: the ‘health, style, culture, society’ line leaves you with no doubt about the kind of stories you’re going to be reading about, and they’ve managed to cleverly cram some 14 cover lines on there without it looking cramped.

“Chances are, anyone could pick that up off the shelf and be drawn to at least one story they’d be interested in reading. So it’s functional. But then there’s the newsstand appeal: each one of the mags up for judging did a good job of including a striking image on there (particularly MMXX, which I enjoyed), but I liked the cleanliness of Escape as a full package – it’d definitely stand out in a sea of other titles at Smiths, for example, which is so important.”

Escape editor Izzi said: “I’m delighted Escape won the cover prize! We really thought about every aspect of what makes a great cover and essentially designed what we would love to see on a newsstand. Liv created an illustration that perfectly encapsulates the magazine’s essence and we can’t thank her enough. It’s incredibly rewarding to have our time and effort acknowledged. Thank you!” 

The story on the announcement of the shortlist has become the best-read article in the history of Leicestershire Press. A just-for-fun poll asking readers to vote for their own favourite cover attracted more than 20,000 votes. Rivo magazine, created by Isatou Ndure, Rhys Bailey, Victoria Kingsley and Omar Qavi, was the clear victor there, with Horizon in second place.

Students on both the single- and joint-honours Journalism programme at DMU create magazines and websites as part of their final year studies. DMU Journalism graduates have gone on to work on magazine titles including Mixmag and Clash.

The team behind Escape will share the £200 prize.

De Montfort Students’ Union hosts Valentine’s day drag extravaganza

By Adam Rear 

As part of the DMU Pride week, the De Montfort Students’ Union are hosting a drag Valentine’s extravaganza.

This Valentine’s Day (FEB14) students can look forward to live performances from various UK drag queens.

The event starts at 7pm and finish at 11pm, and will take place at the Campus Centre, Function Room 1.

DMU Alumni, Reign, and Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK superstar, Vinegar Strokes, will fill the night with lip syncing, burlesque and stand-up comedy.

For those interested in attending the event, complete the booking form found here:

A barrel of laughs

By Charlie Bourne

People always need a good laugh. For 25 years, the Leicester Comedy Festival has provided much more than that. To learn more about what goes on away from the stage spotlight, Charlie Bourne spoke to Founder and Director Geoff Rowe.

Geoff with Harry Hill

Geoff Rowe squaring off with Harry Hill before their Q+A interview

From its humble beginnings starting out as a university project, the festival has evolved into a platform for aspiring comedians to be heard, a multi-million-pound boost to the city’s economy and one of Leicester’s biggest entertainment attractions.

This year’s festival held big names in honour of its 25th birthday, such as recent ‘I’m a Celebrity’ contestant Shappi Khorsandi, Sara Pascoe, Harry Hill and internet sensation Jonathon Pie.

Attracting household performers is essential for the festival, and takes a combined effort by venues, promoters and the festival itself to get right.

Geoff said: “A lot of people think as a central organisation we book all the shows and do all the promotion.

“But I think one of the great things about the festival is we don’t directly promote most of the events.

“We work really collaboratively with all of our venues like The Curve, De Montfort Hall and Loughborough town hall that are more likely to attract big names.

“We have an ongoing dialogue with them to say okay well, Katherine Ryan is touring a show could you try and get her in the festival.

“The other way we do it is through what we call our special events so the Q&A with Harry Hill and Sara Pascoe we did this year, the Gala Preview show we did in January.

“They are our promotions and we produce them directly, so we work to get headline acts to come to the festival every year.”

Geoff rowe with Sara Pascoe

Geoff pictured interviewing Sara Pascoe

While the big crowds are often drawn to the headline acts, in the past, the festival has offered more intimate viewings where comics share new material that has often never been heard elsewhere.

“Some acts do us favours almost by trying out new material in smaller venues.

“Sarah Millican has come and tried out new shows in venues that hold just 80 people and that creates and different kind of buzz and excitement.

“These things happen because we’ve run the festival for such a long time and now we have direct relationships with comedians, agencies and managers that help make it what is today.”

However, an immense part of the festival is dedicated to the next generation of comics just waiting for their chance to burst into the competitive comedy industry and with prestigious awards up for grabs, a comedian’s value can quickly rise.

Geoff said: “We’ve had numerous examples over the years of new comedians that have come and won some of our competitions like the Leicester Mercury comedian of the year for example

“They’ve gone on to become hugely successful and famous because people pay attention to those kind of things.”

Jason Manford, Romesh Ranganathan, Johnny Vegas and Josh Widdicombe are just a few of the past winners to the Leicester Mercury’s star-rising award, and this year’s winner Jack Gleadow was also a hit.

“Jack, I think is absolutely fabulous, I really enjoyed seeing him, he was absolutely brilliant.” Geoff said.

With that said, it’s the festival’s task to create a supportive atmosphere for them to thrive in.

“This year we did a new project called circuit breakers. Where we bought six new comedians to the festival and looked after them. We gave them hotels, covered their transport, gave them meals and introduced them to new people.

“That was a very supportive thing we did and I think the Leicester Comedy festival is a very supportive place for emerging comedians to come. When you go somewhere like Edinburgh, you’re often performing to industry people or others also waiting to perform in the same venue as you.

“I think with Leicester, generally speaking, your performing to members of the public who have decided to take a chance in some instances to see new and emerging comedians. In some respects, they get more genuine feedback from the audience as they want to be there.”

“So I think for comedians starting out it’s a good entry point too the comedy industry.”

If you thought the comedy festival was just all about stand up, you couldn’t be more wrong.

With outdoor comedy events like Dead Leicester, the quirky tours and the secret tours. As well as other events like the Ultimate Comedy Championships, there is a wide range of events running over the three-week period that everyone will enjoy.

“There is a big diversity of acts that help spread the festival further than it might do.

“This year we did an event in Leicester cathedral which attracted around 300 people who probably wouldn’t go to a stand up gig in a bar in town so it’s all about getting different sorts of people to come and enjoy the festival.” Geoff said.

Not long after the annual festival finished, dates for next year have already been set but before that commences on 6th February, there is still a lot to be done to ensure the festival returns for another year.

Geoff said: “The main priority is to keep it going, I want to keep the momentum we’ve gathered going, there are comedians that I would love to come to the festival and I wont give up on that.

“It’s important to get a good mix of events, to get big names in and find new talent, but the important thing right now is to keep it going.”