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FE College citizen journalists scoop London competition awards

Two London FE students have scooped awards in the London Voices 2017 citizen journalist competition, sponsored by The Media Society and London Learning Consortium.

Working Men’s College Creative Media student and Tower Hamlets citizen journalist Martin Dignan was awarded a Certificate of Merit for his entry which combined his creative video production skills learned at Working Men’s College with a keen interest in music.  He produced a video profile of Max Music studios, a community-led musical arts initiative, interviewing Astaphan, a community music champion for over 20 years, described as “an irrepressible spirit of local hero and musician/music producer.” He was presented with his award by President of The Media Society, Richard Peel at a high profile event at the London Reform Club last week.

LSEC Bromley College citizen journalist Abbie Richards was awarded a Highly Commended Certificate.  Abbie has suffered from a mental health condition called Selective Mutism, which means she finds it hard to speak to other people. Her article explains how this feels, the impact of it, and how she has worked to overcome it.

Media Society judges Patrick Barrow and Barney Jones loved both entries.  They admired Martin’s “appealing central character” and felt his story was,an interesting and creative approach to telling a story of London endeavour, and expressly sets out to establish the ‘who, what, where, when and why’ – all key elements in journalism”. The judges were also moved by

Abbie’s “account of being stuck in a silent world” and felt the story was a passionate and personal tale, strongly and well written”.

Both entries were part of a competition to encourage new talent into journalism, and their entries along with photos and a short profile of each winner can be found on the London Voices website.

Dubbed London Voices, the competition aims to promote emerging journalism talent across the capital and to generate a range of new perspectives and ideas about London. Aspiring citizen journalists submitted articles, videos or photos which debated and challenged the ways people think about their communities. The competition was launched against a background of discussion about the proliferation of ‘fake news’, and is part of an attempt to fight back by encouraging citizens to become part of reporting ‘real’ news about their communities and issues.

Sponsor Stephen Jeffery from London Learning Consortium saidThe more we can encourage local people to get involved with citizen journalism, the better chance we have of reporting events and issues in a fair and balanced way. As CEO of a London training provider, it’s been great to help emerging journalists learn more about how to get their voices heard.”

Media Society Judge Patrick Barrow said of the competition in general,It’s been great to hear so many different voices reflecting how much London has changed – and stayed the same. Many of the entries were thoughtful and illuminating accounts of life in the capital from many viewpoints and judging them was a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

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