A Sussex student has won the prestigious ‘Scoop of the Year’ student journalism award. First year English Literature student, Juliet Conway, beat students up and down the country, winning out of a short-list of six students.
Juliet recieved her award at the Society of Editors’ Conference earlier this month.Juliet won the award for her front page article in The Argus on the tragic death last year of Sussex Molecular Medicine student Hester Stewart. Hester died at a party after an accidental overdose of the then legal drug Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL).
While Hester’s death was mourned at Sussex, it sparked international debate over the risks and future of legal drugs such as GBL which had been bought online. Hester’s family launched a successful campaign to have the drug banned in the UK.
Juliet said; “Dealing with such a sad story was hard but I felt it necessary to get the message across to people out there that this drug is dangerous. Thankfully the story has raised awareness, and the Advisory Council of the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has recently announced the drug, GBL, will be made Class C at the close of 2009.”
Juliet heard the tragic news while on a National Certificate for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) course based at the offices of local paper The Argus. She said; “I got the first scoop during my first week of the course and I was so fortunate that Journalist Works has such a close relationship with the Argus News Desk, because it meant I could get the story to them immediately, and without hesitation. The story was on the front page the following day, it was all very surreal but this award has really been the icing on the cake; I feel proud and honoured to receive it.”
Juliet was presented with the NCTJ Award for Excellence at the Society of Editors’ Conference. The Society’s
Executive Director, Bob Satchwell, said; “The NCTJ qualification is the key to a job in journalism. The NCTJ awards, therefore, recognise the best of the best journalists in training. The awards and their presentation throw a spotlight on the winners, allowing the winners to rub shoulders with editors and the editors to spot the most promising new journalists.”
Juliet is one of The Badger’s news editors and intends to pursue a career in journalism following her graduation. She was delighted with the award, saying; “I was amazed even to be short-listed but when I found out I’d won, I was over the moon. It means so much to me and it’s a great way to start my career in journalism.”
Paula O’Shea, MD of the NCTJ ‘Journalist Works’ course Juliet was on, said; “Juliet worked really hard on our fast-track course. She has proved that she has fantastic news judgment and a strong instinct for a story. She was able to turn a few facts into a well-written informative leading article. Well done Juliet!”