A University of Gloucestershire student carried off the top award at the Midlands Media Student Awards, held in Birmingham on 10 April.
Hesham Abdelhamid (pictured), who lives in Cheltenham, took the Student of the Year accolade after having collected the Features Category trophy earlier in the evening.
The awards, organised by Birmingham Press Club to acknowledge the achievements of next-generation journalists, broadcasters and photographers, attracted several hundred entries from universities and colleges from the East and West Midlands. The awards ceremony was held at Mama Roux’s leisure venue in Digbeth, hosted by BBC Radio WM presenter Alex Noble.
Headline sponsor was Amazon UK Services Ltd, whose Community Relations Manager, Neil Williams, presented the Student of the Year trophy. He said: “This has been a tremendous opportunity to work with the Birmingham Press Club to both encourage aspiring journalists and recognise the best emerging talent. It’s great to see the world’s oldest press club looking to the future with the Midlands Media Students’ Awards, which we’re delighted to support.”
Further sponsorship support came from HSBC UK, the Press Club’s overall sponsor, and the Universities of Birmingham City, De Montfort, Gloucestershire, Northampton and Worcester.
The judges likened Hesham’s work to what they would expect from a “seasoned journalist working in the profession for years.”
Hesham (firstname.lastname@example.org) is co-founder of a magazine that has been acknowledged as the “fastest growing student publication of 2018.”
His award-winning portfolio – praised for its thorough planning and research - tackled serious subjects such as professional humility, an aspect of conflict within society and the fascination with the trend of creating fake news. The judges said that his self-confessed experimental, emotional, funny and sassy style of writing made them all the more entertaining.
Commenting on one of his feature entries, Hesham said: “Following a negative experience at a networking conference, I wrote a long-form feature on why, being humble in the way you describe yourself as a professional/creative and letting your work speak for itself, is the best way to get noticed in any saturated industry.”
In an unprecedented move in the highly competitive Sport Category, the judges named three students – Molly Hudson (Staffordshire University) Adam Barker and David Wainwright (both University of Derby) – as joint winners.
Birmingham Press Club chairman Llewela Bailey said: “Many well-known names in the media world have kick-started their careers after having successfully negotiated their courses at Midland universities and colleges. And I have no doubt that those who entered our awards will be following in their footsteps. The standard of submitted work was truly outstanding – a real credit to the lecturers who are helping to craft their careers.”
MIDLANDS MEDIA AWARD WINNERS - 2019
Winner: Lucy Ryan, Birmingham City University, for her epic series “The Lonely Death of Janet Parker,” all about the world’s last recorded smallpox fatality, which occurred in Birmingham in 1978.The judges said it was thoroughly researched, well edited, with proportionate use of both first hand accounts and expert analysis. A tragic series of events turned into a compelling listen.
Highly commended: Ama Esson, University of Northampton, whose entry examined the link between Drill Music and street crime.
AWARD PRESENTED BY SIMON WALSH, SENIOR LECTURER AT LEICESTER MEDIA SCHOOL, DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY
Winner: James Williams, of University of Lincoln, who demonstrated good story lines, good editing and audio in a presentation portfolio that was clearly well researched with excellent interviewees. The judges said he showed real flair, presence and active involvement. They added that the results were a credit to the University, its lecturers and students.
Highly commended: Hafsa Naveed, Birmingham City University, whose well-researched, sensitively-approached documentary on forced marriage and honour-based abuse in the UK provided a telling insight into the lives of two women survivors
Highly Commended: Hannah Brown, University of Lincoln, for an excellent compilation of stories ranging from the disappearance of a city icon, the loss of an important public service, to a light-hearted look at New Year Resolutions.
Highly Commended: Katharyn Daniels, University of Lincoln, whose work included the opening of a Bomber Command memorial, a student-led initiative supporting young women and a look at the growing issue of food banks.
AWARD PRESENTED BY BOB WARMAN, ITV CENTRAL AND PRESIDENT OF BIRMINGHAM PRESS CLUB
Winner: Kaylee Poloczek, University of Northampton, for a stand out entry with a documentary-style interview with two women who were part and parcel of gangland London in the Sixties – Maureen Flanagan, a Page 3 pin-up and hairdresser to Ronnie and Reggie Kray’s mother, and Veronica, the wife of rival gang boss Charlie Richardson. The judges especially liked the pre-interview footage of the women “adjusting” themselves for the camera. A 10-minute interview, which captured a lot about what the women did and didn’t know about the violent world around them.
Highly commended: Anisah Vasta & Abigail Nruah, Birmingham City University, for their interview with Sir Lenny Henry.
Highly commended: Lydia Johnson, Birmingham City University, for her blog on how she went about getting a placement on Cosmo magazine.
AWARD PRESENTED BY RACHEL AMMONDS, JOURNALISM COURSE LEADER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WORCESTER
Winner: Victoria Oliveres, Birmingham City University, took the award in a category, which, like all others, was blessed with a very high standard of work. In today’s “big data” age, there are those whose intention is to “hide” unwelcome truths – and it is a vital dimension of any journalist’s role in the 21st century to make sense of it all and uncover the stories that need telling. The judges said that using FOI details extracted from 26 police forces, Victoria produced a well-researched and comprehensive piece of work to reveal that online disability hate crimes had tripled in three years. Her entry displayed a new angle to the on-going issue of hate crime – with social media companies in the spotlight for their failure to monitor and block unacceptable content.
Highly Commended: Sania Aziz, Birmingham City University, for her brave investigative piece of work into sexual assaults which occur within the so-called safe havens of university campuses.
Highly Commended: Calum Archibald, Birmingham City University, who tackled the topical subject of calling upon football clubs to do more to support people with mental health issues.
AWARD PRESENTED BY ANITA SHARMA-JAMES, A DIRECTOR OF BIRMINGHAM PRESS CLUB.
Winner: Hesham Abdelhamid, of University of Gloucester, is co-founder of a magazine that won the accolade of “fastest growing student publication of 2018.”
His entry tackled serious subjects such as professional humility, an aspect of conflict within society and the fascination with the trend of creating fake news. But his self-confessed experimental, emotional, funny and sassy style of writing made them all the more entertaining. The judges said Hesham had demonstrated his skills in thoroughly planning out and researching compelling, and most of all, interesting features. His work, all about shedding light on something new, entices the reader into reading more. The judges likened his work to what they would expect from a seasoned journalist working in the profession for years.
Highly Commended: Eve Smallman, of Nottingham Trent University. As editor-in-chief of the Students’ Union magazine, Eve is always on the look-out for a story that engages her readers – and she clearly demonstrates this skill with a compelling portfolio of articles, reflecting the serious, the sensitive and the fun side of life.
Highly Commended: Gurjeet Nanrah, of Nottingham Trent University, who produced an emotional story about a Muslim doctor whose great-grandfathers fought for the British Army in WW1 in a Punjabi Regiment – highlighting, the largely overlooked, sacrifice made by ethnic minorities for the British Empire. Also, an enthralling interview with a criminal defence lawyer whose career is highly successful – despite him being blind since the age of eight.
Highly Commended: James Williams, of University of Lincoln, who produced a radio documentary about Christianity in crisis; a TV feature on the use of 3G pitches in football and an example of a weekly local football review show.
AWARD PRESENTED BY KATE IRONSIDE, JOURNALISM SENIOR LECTURER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTHAMPTON
Winner: Wan Ulfa Nur Zuhra, Birmingham City University, whose work stood out for its powerful mixture of investigative and data journalism on topical public interest issues. There was good analysis and strong human-interest angles, well crafted in an accessible writing style,
Highly commended Becky Tombs, University of Derby, for using her initiative in seeking the comments of customers on “rows of closed shops” and problems hitting small businesses.
Highly Commended: Elliott Hawkins, University of Lincoln, demonstrated his multi-platform skills with a hard news story on road deaths in Lincolnshire and a TV package on Lincoln City’s first visit to Wembley.
Highly commended: Lynn Butler, University of Wolverhampton, who came up with a fresh angle on the Enoch Powell blue plaque storm which gave her a page-lead in a print newspaper
AWARD PRESENTED BY AURORA BONIN, SENIOR MEDIA RELATIONS MANAGER, HSBC UK
Winner: Kirsty Hatton, University of Worcester, whose portfolio of street photography shots was all about observation and finding something interesting in everyday life. The judges said she had a good creative eye with a theme in mind, which was reflected in a set of well-composed images.
Highly Commended: Ellen Flannery, University of Worcester, whose photographs depicted the diverse and unique characters of “normal” people in their everyday working environment.
AWARD PRESENTED BY AURORA BONIN, SENIOR MEDIA RELATIONS MANAGER, HSBC UK
SOCIAL ISSUES & CAMPAIGNING JOURNALISM
Winner: Adrienne Titley, of University of Worcester, for filming, editing and producing a documentary short on the severity of male suicide in the UK and what life is like for those left behind. Sadly, Adrienne’s father took his own life and the judges said this was a particularly brave decision to tackle a topic so close to home. Adrienne’s project was conducted during the final year of her journalism degree and since then she has campaigned vigorously to raise awareness of male suicide, appearing on TV and writing blogs for Huffington Post to highlight the alarming increase in suicide rates over the last four years. The judges said it was a powerful, hard-hitting and eye-opening video, lifted by its tone, use of graphics and crafted with real creativity.
Highly Commended; Ama Esson, of University of Northampton, for an in-depth investigation into whether it was fair of politicians to stand up in Parliament and blame the Drill music genre for a rise in knife crime
AWARD PRESENTED BY ANNE DAWSON, HEAD OF MEDIA SCHOOL AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE
SOCIAL MEDIA JOURNALISM
WINNER: Beth Ennis & Katharyn Daniels, of University of Lincoln, whose 'Taboo' branded website tackles controversial topics and engages an impressive audience. One topic, about anti-vax campaigners was picked up by an Irish Times journalist who then started a debate of his own. The inclusion of readers comments in articles is exactly what modern newspapers and broadcasters and clambering to do.
Highly Commended: Thomas Smith, of University of Derby, who produced Instagram stories while working in Russia for the Football Supporters’ Federation and while covering the Under 17 Euro Football Championships in England. Live Twitter updates following the helicopter tragedy at King Power Stadium completed his portfolio.
AWARD PRESENTED BY SARAH JONES, HEAD OF MEDIA SCHOOL, BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY
Winners: Molly Hudson, Staffordshire University, who is now a freelance sports journalist with a specialism for women’s football. Her portfolio comprised of work published in the national media, including a medical-based feature and a more light-hearted contribution about two women footballers balancing their personal life with work commitments.
Adam Barker, a first-year football journalism student at the University of Derby, who submitted a variety of talented work about coaching, thoughts on Wayne Rooney’s legacy and a Norwich City match report.
David Wainwright, University of Derby, loves football and also has a passion for boxing – highlighted by two knockout interviews with heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte and Conor Blackshaw ahead of his challenge for the English flyweight title.
Highly Commended: James Williams, of University of Lincoln, for a great all-round performance in written, video and radio format.
Highly commended: Sam Ogun, of University of Northampton, whose portfolio features a very worthy BAME football article.
Highly commended: Louis Mitchell, of University of Derby, whose excellent easy-to-read articles on the world of women’s football had the judges hooked
Highly Commended: Thomas Jobson, of Staffordshire University, whose well-written portfolio included attention-grabbing articles on the journey to becoming a professional footballer (from the parents perspective) and youth trials and mental health.
AWARDS PRESENTED BY NEIL WILLIAMS, COMMUNITY RELATIONS MANAGER AT AMAZON UK SERVICES LTD
MIDLANDS MEDIA STUDENT OF THE YEAR - 2019
Winner: Hesham Abdelhamid, of University of Gloucester, whose desire to make his features as entertaining as possible certainly worked wonders with the judges. They not only found his entry really entertaining and compelling but also highly professional. A polished performance.
AWARD PRESENTED BY NEIL WILLIAMS, COMMUNITY RELATIONS MANAGER, AMAZON UK SERVICES LTD