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Two London FE students scoop journalism competition awards

2 FE students revealed as winners in London Voices Journalism Competition Awards

Twelve aspiring new journalists have scooped awards and certificates in the second annual London Voices 2018 competition at a high-profile event at the Art Workers Guild in Bloomsbury on Tuesday 10th July. Two of these, Taiwo Salami and Devon Davis are students at London FE Colleges.

The competition encourages and promotes emerging journalism talent across the capital, giving diverse individuals the opportunity to tackle both local and national issues. Londoners over the age of 14 across 21 boroughs sent in written articles, videos, audio files and multimedia entries which challenged the ways people think about their communities and discussed issues ranging from food markets to child obesity, from mental health to non-league football.

The competition was open to anyone who lives, works or studies in London, and received entries from schools, FE Colleges, Universities and individuals. Around half of the entries were from people with no previous experience of journalism.

The competition was sponsored by London Learning Consortium, Journo Resources, London South Bank University, Newsweek Media Group, Panda Radio, The Media Society, Update News and

The event was introduced by Alex Hudson, Deputy Editor of Metro UK who spoke about the importance of getting new young voices into the media industry and the amazing range of entries generated by the competition.

There was also an inspiring speech from 2017 competition winner Louisa Naks who shared her progress and achievements since winning the competition last year and encouraged all this year’s entrants to persevere in their journalistic ambitions.

Devon Davis – Runner Up for the Best Young Journalist aged 14-18 Award – sponsored by Update News for her written entry about youth crime and cuts to youth budgets.

Devon has just completed her BTEC Extended Diploma in Media at John Ruskin College, Croydon, where she learned about all aspects of media production, researching, editing and writing. She has always loved reading and writing, and she enjoys working within a multimedia environment, including making short visual documentaries within her articles to back up her stories and add variety.

Just turned 18, Devon has already had a variety of experience in different media, including working for Croydon TV as part of the HeadStart challenge which helps get young people volunteering in their local community. At the online TV channel, she read and reviewed books, and did some presenting. She also recorded a bulletin for Video Blog in Streatham on how the LGBT community are trying to promote science learning, and helped watch retailers Watches2You with their social media PR.

The main inspiration for her entry about youth crime and the corresponding lack of facilities for young people, was her brother who witnessed two of his friends die before him due to crime on the streets. Shocked by the fact that he had lost 23 friends – some imprisoned, while others were dead or had committed suicide – Devon wrote about how an increase in youth provision could help young people stay safe and off the streets. The article built on a previous short visual documentary and included opinions and suggestions from a variety of people affected by crime or involved in the politics of how to prevent it.

Judges said, “This is a hard-hitting piece which speaks to people at the front line of a huge issue for London. It’s a raw and honest insight into a massive issue within London which doesn’t shy away from anything”.

Devon has applied for university journalism courses but has decided to defer for a year while she tries to find work or an apprenticeship to get more experience. She would love to write or work with editing and production in print media, although she is also keen on documentary making. Her dream job would be as an international current affairs journalist on TV.

Taiwo SalamiBest Beginner Award sponsored by The Media Society for his written article about underhand parking fines in London boroughs.

Taiwo has worked as a Health Care Support Worker for nine years, supporting vulnerable individuals in the local community and helping to break the stigma and taboos around mental health. As his job requires him to complete complex reports, statements, support plans and assessments, he wanted to improve his writing skills. He also hoped that improved writing and a qualification would support him in his dream of moving into nursing as a career.

He joined London South East Colleges in Bromley, enrolling on their GCSE English programme in 2017. The college runs a variety of courses each year, supporting people from across the capital to progress their careers and improve their skills through GCSE English and maths. Rather than the traditional classroom he expected, he found that the college instead used innovative and inspirational approaches to the delivery of English, with tutors having high expectations of learner interaction and participation. He began to see his classes not just about getting a qualification, but also about improving his confidence and general communication skills.

As part of the course, Taiwo attended a workshop event for the London Voices competition run by Jem Collins from Journo Resources. Inspired by what he learned about journalism and writing at the workshop, he decided to research and submit an article on the punitive measures being imposed on London motorists. His inspiration came from realising how many issues motorists face being wrongly ticketed for capital gain, and he wanted to give a voice to London drivers who are being given a rough deal.

Judges said, “This was a really nice bit of local newsy reportage with all the key ingredients needed for a good journalistic piece.”

Taiwo was over the moon to be selected as an Award winner for the competition and he has decided to continue with his academic studying. He is even thinking about producing more articles, because as he says, “Let’s face it, Londoners need a voice!”

The other winners were:

Atina Dimitrova – Best Urban Video Award sponsored by for her video about Digital Skills in London. Atina lives in Islington and attends City University.

Isla Russell – Best Written Entry Award sponsored by Journo Resources for her written article about mental health in the city. Isla comes from Wandsworth and is studying journalism at London South Bank University.

James Dowden – Best Written Entry (Beginners) Award sponsored by Journo Resources for his written article about the highs and lows of non-league football. James has just completed his first year of sixth form at Hampton School in Richmond.

Luke Chillingsworth and Thomas MackieBest Young Journalist sponsored by The Media Society for their Video entry about the Shoreditch Licensing laws. Both Luke and Thomas lives in Islington and are studying at City University.

Phoebe Gardner – Best Multimedia Journalist sponsored by London South Bank University for her multimedia article on the decline of traditional food markets across London. Phoebe lives in Lewisham and is studying journalism at Goldsmiths University.

Tianxing (Star) Tang – Best Audio Journalist Award sponsored by Panda Radio for her audio article on childhood obesity in the UK. Star lives in Harrow and has completed an MA in Journalism at Westminster University.

Torbjoern JoerstadBest Young Journalist Award sponsored by The Media Society for his written entry about a bombing raid on Highbury Corner during the Second World War. Torbjoern lives in Islington and studies Journalism at City University.

Valerio Esposito – Best Student Journalist sponsored by Newsweek Media Group for his video entry about the disability campaigners fighting for more changing places in London. Valerio lives in Hackney and has just got a job as a script assistant at Sky News after completing his studies at City University.

Main sponsor London Learning Consortium CEO Steve Jeffery said: “It was a fantastic second year for London Voices and we are so proud to have continued our support. This year’s winners showed exactly why we started this competition – they challenged and reflected what is going on in London and showed us what could be possible by producing inspiring and thought-provoking articles.”

Competition manager Amanda Pavon-Lopez said “The competition was hard-fought and it was an incredibly tough job for the judges to choose winners. This just goes to show what an amazing wealth of talent there is out there in London, and how journalism is still very much alive and relevant for today’s young people. The winners all submitted interesting and well-researched pieces in a huge variety of formats. It’s been a real privilege to see the response to the competition.”

Media Society Judge Patrick Barrow said “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.

Newsweek Media Group sponsor Daniel Orton said, I’d just like to reiterate how wonderful and inspiring it is to see those young people getting involved in journalism”.

Update News sponsor Jamie Moreton said, It was so difficult to choose, the entries have been absolutely stunning​! I wish I could choose more as winners!​ It has been an absolute pleasure to judge and we’re excited to work with some of the winners in future on Update News and at The BRIT School”.

All the winning entries to the competition can be seen on the London Voices competition website

The London Voices competition was launched in autumn 2016. This is the second year the competition has run. This year there were entries from 21 London boroughs.

The competition encourages people who live, work or study in London and are over the age of 14 to send in original works of journalism in print, video, audio or multimedia. The competition targets people who have no previous experience of journalism, or who are still studying.

The competition will be running again next year. Any individuals or organisations interested in becoming involved or who would like to find out about sponsoring the competition are asked to contact [email protected].

About London Learning Consortium: A Community Interest Company that works for the benefit of communities and businesses across London. It provides a range of services within the learning and skills sector, with a membership drawn from Voluntary and Community Sector learning providers and other learning and skills delivery partnerships. Growing out of a 2005 European Social Fund project designed to sustain community learning, the LLC now works with some of the most disadvantaged groups in the region. CEO Steven Jeffery attended the presentation of the awards and took a personal interest in the competition.

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