For the fifth year in a row, a CfJ graduate won the prize for ‘best student project’ from the National Council for the Training of Journalists.
The Centre for Journalism (CfJ) graduate, Laoise Gallagher took home the ‘Best student project’ award for her documentary on the under-diagnosis of autism in women and girls. Her film, which is called ‘Actually Autistic: Hiding in plain sight’, was made during the pandemic and is available on YouTube. Laoise graduated with a 1st class BA in Journalism and her film was made as her final year project. She went on to work as a community reporter at Kent Online and now works for Pink News.
The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) holds the awards each year to highlight the achievements of individuals with promising journalism careers ahead of them. The NCTJ’s 2021 Awards ceremony was held in the spring of 2022, after a record-breaking 481 entries.
Also collecting a prize this year was CfJ alumna Jem Collins, who took the ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion’ award, which was sponsored by the Financial Times. Jem is a digital journalist and is the founding Director and Editor-in-Chief of Journo Resources. She graduated from the CfJ in 2014. The award she was given recognises ‘the outstanding work of individuals, educators and trainers, and employers who promote equality, diversity and inclusion in the media and training sector’.
Laoise Gallagher was also shortlisted for the prize for ‘Community News Project’, a category in which her work was commended. Fellow CfJ alumna Lily Morl was short-listed for ‘Best student project’ for her moving documentary on people who had to wait for transplants during the Covid pandemic. The documentary was ‘highly commended’ by the NCTJ’s judges and was made for a final year project, where students choose what they want to focus on. Lily graduated with a 1st class BA in Journalism and is now a reporter at Buckinghamshire Live News.
The CfJ itself was in the running for an award for Innovation, for its popular and ground-breaking ‘Year in Journalism’ course, which is open to undergraduates at the University of Kent. The course is accredited by the NCTJ and allows students from different subject areas to spend a year training as a journalist at the CfJ on the Medway campus. In this time, while taking university modules, students also get the opportunity to take NCTJ qualifications leading to the organisation’s Diploma, which is much-respected in the journalism industry.
CfJ lecturer Angela Harrison said: “We are very proud to see our graduates nominated, commended and winning these prestigious awards. Laoise Gallagher’s and Lily Morl’s documentaries are very strong pieces of journalism, packed with people’s voices, experiences and stories, as well as the crucial facts on these important topics. Both students showed great motivation, skill, creativity and ingenuity in creating these engaging and thought-provoking documentaries during a pandemic.
“Jem Collins richly deserves her award for the work she does to open the doors of journalism to people from all backgrounds and we are delighted she has also come back at times as a visiting lecturer, to teach the present-day students.”