DMU graduate named Student Journalist of the Year

It’s no mean feat to be named student journalist of the year, but the cherry on the cake for De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate Nick Gascoyne was when one of the judges’ comments said ‘Brilliant. I would give this person a job’.

Nick, who graduated with a first in Journalism and Politics in the summer, was encouraged to enter the Midlands Media Students’ Awards by his DMU Journalism lecturers.

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Nick with his Feature Writer and Journalist of the Year awards

He made the shortlist in the feature writing category and four of his fellow DMU Journalism students also made shortlists for categories such as sport and news writing.

Nick was over the moon to be named Feature Writer of the Year, especially with his mum and his lecturer Jeremy Clay there to see him win it.

But that was not the end for Nick’s night out at the Birmingham Press Club event.

“I won feature writer prize and then it came to Student of the Year at the ceremony. I just thought ‘oh I’m not going to win this’ and then they read out the nominations and my name was on the list

“I had brought my mum along to the awards and she was holding on to me waiting to hear if my name would be read out and was really trying to contain herself.

“I am still in shock to have won the top prize, but I’m really, really happy about it. In fact, I‘m on cloud nine. And my mum is really proud of me too.”

Hearing his name read out and having to make his way to the stage for a second time meant everything else was a bit of a blur – including the judge’s comment about giving him a job.

“Somebody told me the comment had been read out. I have been in touch with the awards people and the judges have to remain anonymous, but my name and contact details are being passed on.”

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Nick with ITV journalist Bob Warman (pic Rob Hammersley)

Nick’s portfolio of articles on “weird, obscure and extraordinary real people,” which won him the Feature Writer of the Year Award, saw him interview a former vegan who swapped broccoli for raw meat and fermented cow’s milk during his hunt for excellent health; an American couple whose six “children” are dolls made to look like zombies; and a rare insight into the lives of three professions that work with the deceased - a forensic pathologist, a group of crime scene cleaners and a mortuary assistant.

They were all written in his final year at DMU and Nick has a lot of praise for the lecturers on the DMU Journalism course, saying: “It shows our lecturers know what makes good work, as they encouraged me to enter the awards.

“The lecturers themselves really sell this course. They are passionate about journalism and passionate about what they teach.

“In my 2nd year I had quite low confidence in my writing skills but Jeremy helped me a lot with feature writing. I am glad he was there to see me win.”

DMU Leicester Centre for Journalism senior lecturer Brian Dodds said all those who made it to the shortlist were ‘rightly proud of their achievements’ for producing articles ‘that are quite simply a great read’.

BA Journalism and Politics student Charlie Hawes was shortlisted in four different categories – News, Sport, Social & Campaigning Journalism and Features. He was highly commended in three categories during the awards night.

Final year BA Journalism student Alice Wright was shortlisted in the Sport category and fellow final year BA Journalism student Courtney Stevens was shortlisted in the Features category. BA Journalism and International Relations graduate Shaika Rahimi was shortlisted for the Features category.

Posted on Thursday 16 November 2023

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