London South East Colleges student, Abbie Richards has been awarded a Highly Commended Certificate in the 2017 London Voices journalist competition this week. The award is sponsored by The Media Society and London Learning Consortium. Abbie’s article on selective mutism was part of a competition designed to encourage new talent into journalism.
Dubbed London Voices, the competition aims to promote emerging journalism talent across the capital and to generate a range of new perspectives and ideas about London. Aspiring citizen journalists submitted articles, videos or photos which debated and challenged the ways people think about their communities. The competition was launched against a background of discussion about the proliferation of ‘fake news’, and is part of an attempt to fight back by encouraging citizens to become part of reporting ‘real’ news about their communities and issues.
Abbie has suffered from a mental health condition called Selective Mutism, which means she finds it hard to speak to other people. Her article explains how this feels, the impact of it, and how she has worked to overcome it. Her article can be read on the London Voices website by clicking here.
Media Society judges Patrick Barrow and Barney Jones loved Abbie’s 'account of being stuck in a silent world' and felt the story was 'a passionate and personal tale, strongly and well written'.
Abbie is studying Health and Social Care and Childcare, as well as GCSE English, and hopes to become a midwife in the NHS one day. She loves writing and says the competition has encouraged her to carry on writing and maybe enter more competitions through the English Enrichment Programme at London South East Colleges.
Sponsor Stephen Jeffery from London Learning Consortium said: “The more we can encourage local people to get involved with citizen journalism, the better chance we have of reporting events and issues in a fair and balanced way. As CEO of a London training provider, it’s been great to help emerging journalists learn more about how to get their voices heard.”
Media Society Judge Patrick Barrow said of the competition in general: “It’s been great to hear so many different voices reflecting how much London has changed – and stayed the same. Many of the entries were thoughtful and illuminating accounts of life in the capital from many viewpoints and judging them was a rewarding and enjoyable experience.”
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