Three high-achieving journalism students from the south coast have been recognised in a prestigious awards scheme, which was created in memory of a former journalist and champion of journalists’ rights.

Award winning Marcus Wood

The students, one from each of the three main institutions providing journalism training in the Solent region - the University of Portsmouth, Solent University and Highbury College - were nominated by their respective lecturers for making exceptional progress, achieving highly, or for contributing significantly towards their year group.

Each student will receive a certificate, a bespoke trophy created by The Maker's Guild Portsmouth, and a monetary award in recognition of their achievement.

The awards scheme was launched by the Solent branch of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in tribute to their cherished late colleague and former chairman, Bob Norris, in 2020.

Bob’s widow, Pauline Norris, a former journalist and Chair of the Solent NUJ of Earnley, Chichester, said of the winners: “Now in its second year, I am delighted to see that the calibre of young journalistic talent coming out of today’s universities and colleges is as high as the inaugural year of the Bob Norris Award for Achievement in Journalism. As society begins to return to normal following the pandemic there has never been a more important time to celebrate and welcome new talent into our field, as well as support the critical work of the union which continues to help our other colleagues facing crisis or misfortune.

'All of the winners have been extremely worthy of their awards. I am particularly impressed and touched by the unique challenges these young professionals have overcome in their own ways. Bob would have been proud of them.'

Marcus Wood, 19, from Bristol, who won his award for his achievements on the NCTJ Level 3 Diploma at Highbury College, said: 'Having spent a year in lockdown hearing a lot of sad national news, I turned to local news to find uplifting and positive stories, many of which really resonated with me. Following these stories inspired me to go into journalism and hopefully be able to highlight and uplift voices in my community.'

In support of Marcus' nomination, his lecturer, Darren Sadler, Journalism Lecturer at Highbury College, said: 'Marcus came to Highbury from his home city of Bristol after completing his A-Levels - the second youngest student to join the NCTJ Level 3 Diploma. Living away from home (alone) for the first time in a new city during a pandemic I imagine was challenging, especially when many lessons had to be conducted remotely. However, Marcus showed remarkable resilience and engaged extremely well with his studies. He demonstrated an understanding of the importance of community news reporting and throughout the course his levels of confidence and skillsets developed well.

'The feedback he gained from working at both The News and Winchester Today newspapers was excellent. Marcus completed his Diploma with a Gold Standard - which is testament to his hard work and dedication to learning. A keen interest in climate change and the LGBTQ movement (amongst other things), I wish Marcus well in his next career moves beyond Highbury.'

Marcus was awarded this year’s Bob Norris Award for Achievement in Journalism from the Solent Branch of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) alongside Verona Parker from Winchester and Isaac Farnworth from Reading.

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Article Details

  • Date 26/07/2021