GSMA – Kingston Uni: we won “because we took risks”

Lara O’Reilly is former editor of Kingston University’s River newspaper + now a reporter at Marketing Week…

Winning is sometimes far sweeter when you are not expecting it at all.

Hours before the event two nights ago news was spreading around Twitter that there had been an apparent leak of the Guardian Student Media Awards results.

According to the rumours a press release was sent to current editors of the nominated student publications asking if they would like photos of the event – oh and revealing the winner and runner-up of each category.

Kingston Uni Team

Lara O'Reilly and Callum Hornigold

We didn’t know the result for sure; everyone on Twitter was respecting the embargo, but there were plenty of smug-sounding tweets from certain students who seemed to already know the result.

We practiced our gracious losing smiles on the tube to the Guardian offices, still overjoyed that we had been nominated at all.

The ceremony was small, fun and informal – more like a networking event than an awards show, with everyone chatting to students from other publications and introducing themselves to a few of the journos associated with the event.

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Putting old guard into Guardian Student Media

The Guardian Student Media Awards.

The Oscars of university media.

The pièce de résistance of student journalism.

Last week, the 2010 nominations were announced to widespread excitement ahead of the ceremony in November. But, once again, they demonstrated how they are an inherently flawed means of celebrating student media.

Student Media Awards

A large part of the problem with the Guardian Student Media Awards (GSMA) is that they are entirely predictable. It’s possible to guess, before the nominations are announced, that certain names are likely to appear – the likes of Cherwell and the Oxford Student at Oxford, York Vision and Nouse at York and often Gair Rhydd of Cardiff.

And history suggests that not only do certain universities get nominated more but actually they win the awards too – York won 7 in 2007 whilst Oxbridge cleaned up in 2009, winning 6 of 14 awards. This year threatens to be no different, with York and Oxford monopolising the nominations, particularly in the Reporter of the Year category, where two Oxford students (albeit from different publications) and two York students dominate.

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