Future journalist award winners announced

THE winners of this year’s Staffordshire Future Journalist competition were announced on Friday (March 16) during an awards ceremony held at Staffordshire University’s Film Theatre.

The annual competition was launched in November by a team of Staffordshire University’s journalism and PR students, with the aim of encouraging promising young writers, between the ages of seven and 18, to consider studying journalism at Staffordshire University.

The competition received hundreds of entries from young people across Staffordshire and the surrounding area. The entries were judged by Councillor Abi Brown, deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent Council; Sentinel education reporter Kathie McInnes; and Ian Bayley, senior Journalism lecturer at Staffordshire University.

Jackie Gregory, Journalism course leader and founder of the Staffordshire Future Journalist competition, said:

“I was particularly impressed that this year’s entries didn’t shy away from reporting on current, hard-hitting issues, including mental health and the Golden Globe’s ‘Time’s Up’ campaign. The reports were informative and engaging. All our finalists demonstrated how powerful words can be in conveying ideas, emotions and discussing issues.”

The young people shortlisted by the judges, from each of the four categories, were invited to attend the awards afternoon, accompanied by parents and teachers. All finalists were presented with certificates and goody bags, and received a tour of the StaffsLive newsroom, with the winners receiving a book token and the opportunity to return next month for a Newsday Experience in the university’s broadcast newsroom.

The budding journalists were also treated to a special video message from Nina Nannar, Arts Editor at ITV News and Staffordshire University Honorary Graduate, recorded on the red carpet at the Oscars. During her message, the journalist explained how she got started in the industry and offered advice for those considering journalism as a career.

Callum Bancroft, Year 13 student at The Manchester College, won the Years 12 to 13 category with his article on the death of terrestrial television and what it means for millennials. He said:

“It is an achievement, having someone critique your work and approve of it, I think is going to be quite a big boost to everyone that was here today.”

Lydia Tague, Year 10 student at Wolstanton High School and winner of the Years 9 to 11 category added:

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to write about a topic that was important to me. Everyone at Staffordshire University was very welcoming and I appreciated that. Plus, it made my mum proud, which is always a positive.”


A full list of the winners and runners-up is listed below.

Years 3 to 5 category

Joint winners: Grace Dodkins, Year 5 at Bishop Lonsdale CofE Academy

Phoebe Brookes, Year 5 at John Wheeldon Primary Academy

Runner-up: Isabella Nelson, Year 3 at St Gabriel’s Primary School

Years 6 to 8 category

Winner: Niah Massam-Simon, Year 6 at John Wheeldon Primary Academy

Runners-up: Phoebe Chadwick, Year 6 at William Amory Primary School

Megan Johnson, Year 6 at John Wheeldon Primary Academy

Years 9 to 11 category

Winner: Lydia Tague, Year 10 at Wolstanton High School

Runners-up: Joshua Bailey, Year 9 at Newcastle High School

Raman Deo, Year 10 at Wolstanton High School

Years 12 to 13 category

Winner: Callum Bancroft, Year 13 at The Manchester College

Runners-up: Victoria Bagnall, Year 13 at St John Fisher Catholic College

Abigail Aitken, Year 13 at Shrewsbury Sixth Form College.