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University of Worcester Journalism students came out top in the 2016 Midlands Media Students Awards

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University of Worcester Journalism students saw outstanding success at last night’s (Thursday 21st April) Midlands Media Students Award, held at the Austin Court conference centre in Birmingham.

Conor Rees, who graduated from Worcester with Honours after completing his Journalism degree, won the top accolade of ‘Media Student of the Year’ at the ceremony.

Conor, now seeking a full-time job in journalism, was also winner of two other categories – the Online Innovation and Blogger/Vlogger awards.

Sky News managing editor Peter Lowe, who headed the judging panel, said: “Picking a winner from a set of brilliant winners was excruciatingly difficult. But the overall title goes to Conor Rees for his 99 Percent Lifestyle magazine, which is an extraordinary body of work. It’s beautifully designed and produced, extremely glossy and, crucially, genuinely interesting.”

In his initial year at the University of Worcester, Conor - who lives in Northfield, Birmingham - won the First Year Student of the Year award for journalism and in his final year, he won the University’s ‘best magazine’ award.

Conor said: “I really enjoyed the range of opportunities available at Worcester, such as the radio studio, which enabled me and other students to produce content outside of the lessons and subjects in the form of podcasts.

“The magazine module made me realise that the work you create can live on past the module submission and can be published elsewhere, helping get your name out into the world, build an audience or even make you money too if your content/work is good enough and put in the right places.

“The most valuable skills I have acquired were in social media, feature writing, the internet and interviewing techniques.”

Conor was not the only student from Worcester recognised at the awards - eighteen pieces of work from Worcester students, ranging from online publications and blogs to political news reporting, entertainment features and exclusives, were selected.

Chelsea James, fellow Journalism student, was named winner of the Public Affairs category at the awards ceremony. 

First year Saeed Hussain was highly commended for his Video Journalism. Year 2 student Olivia Watkins was highly commended in the Humour Section and first year Shaun Pond in the Entertainments Section. Mike Taylor was a finalist in three categories, Max Banner & Hayden Atkins in two and Beth Sparks, Sophie Moody, Alexandra Martin & Jack Donohoe were also finalists.

Claire Wolfe, Head of Journalism at Worcester, said: “To have 12 finalists, 3 category wins, 3 students highly commended and the overall ‘Student of the Year’ winner is a real acknowledgement of the talented students and staff involved with the Journalism course.”

The awards, originally launched last year with the aim of recognising future talent in broadcasting, journalism and photography, attracted entries from university and college students in Birmingham, Coventry, Derby, Lincoln, Nottingham, Staffordshire, Wolverhampton and Worcester.

Press Club chairman Ed James said: “The media industry is going through some challenging times at the moment. However, quality journalism will always be in demand and if the undoubted talent that we have seen in the awards is anything to go by, then there will not be a shortage of that in the future.”