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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Podcast #2: internships and pay

It’s the Wannabe Hacks podcast pounding your ears once again!

This week The Chancer, Intern and Student investigate internships and chat about pay.

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Guest Post – Harry Low: fast-track journo courses

Wannabe Hacks goes back to the blackboard this week and Harry Low – already shorthand-deep into a fast-track journo course – lets us know exactly what it’s like and what to expect.

‘Special outlines’, ‘leading and kerning’ and the ‘fade factor’ are a few phrases which – had you presented them to me a month ago – I would not have had the foggiest what you were on about.

Harry Low

However, having just completed my third week of a fast-track journalism course, I would at least feel able to give you an indication of what is meant by these words.

The pace of the course is quick. Not too fast but we are progressing at a speed which feels appropriate considering that we need to have all coursework written, portfolios completed and exams sat (and hopefully passed) within the 18 week duration .

The course, roughly speaking, runs from Monday-Thursday with hours usually around 9am-2.30pm. In addition to the 17 or so hours of contact time, we are expected to do up to 10 hours of additional study each week as well as complete work experience on our Friday off.

In order to fit this in a few things have become apparent:

Bring the right equipment

A cancelled train meant that I arrived almost 30 minutes late to my first class (perhaps allow plenty of contingency time if travelling by public transport would be another worthwhile tip, but that’s for another day). I had, though, made sure I had with me the necessary pens, pencils and – crucially – a shorthand notebook: a key item for any wannabe hack.

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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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Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name.

Well you probably won’t so I’ll tell you, I’m Tom Clarke and am the miserable, lucky and anti-London hack behind the alias ‘The Chancer’. In late September I will be moving from my beloved Salford (it’s in the North, near Manchester) to London to take on the challenge of the Newspaper Journalism MA at City University.

Tom Clarke

Whilst I will be doing the same course as The Student and share many similarities with him I came to be on the course in a very different way, only finding out about it and applying days before the deadline. Like most of my academic work I tend to leave things to the last minute and only really enjoy work when put under pressure. Whilst I have wanted to be a journalist for a long time and have been heavily involved in student journalism with Redbrick and The National Student it is this slightly lackadaisical approach to my future career which has gained me the nickname ‘The Chancer’.

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