Welcome to the Student Publication Association National Awards 2023!
It’s been another fantastic year for student journalism and for our members, and it’s that time to celebrate and recognise all your hard work once again.
The SPA National Awards are one of the most prestigious set of awards in student media, with 23 categories recognising the range and variety of student journalism right across the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Nominations for this year’s awards have now closed, and our panel of expert judges are reading through your entries.
Our shortlists have now been revealed, so take a look at how you and your publication have fared before we announce the winners at our awards ceremony during the National Conference in Glasgow on Saturday 1 April. Ticket sales have now closed, and we’re now gearing up for what will be officially our biggest awards night ever!
If you can’t make it along in person, don’t worry! We’ll be streaming the whole ceremony live online, and bring you rolling coverage on our Twitter @SPAJournalism.
While you wait, why not read more about the panels, speakers, and workshops the SPA will be laying on right across this year’s national conference in Glasgow from March 31st – April 2nd.
Plus, new for this year, we’re also introducing #SPANC23 workshops. These are free, bookable sessions which will give those in the room targeted support and training on a particular area of journalism or the SPA, and be more hands-on than our usual excellent range of Q&A sessions, panels and talks and leave you with tangible skills you can use. Find out more and book here >>
If you have any questions about the Awards or your nomination, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
This award recognises the best student publication in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It takes into account the publication’s relevance to its student community, the quality of the content that it produces, and dedication to innovation.
2022 Winner: The Mancunion, University of Manchester
Billy Dowling-Reid Award for Outstanding Commitment
The Billy Dowling-Reid Award for Outstanding Commitment rewards students who have shown outstanding commitment to their publications over the previous year, going above and beyond the call of duty.
You can learn more about Billy, who this award was dedicated to in 2018 here.
2022 Winner: Niamh Robinson, Impact Magazine
This award rewards consistently exceptional reporting from an individual at a student publication. It will take into account the range of stories, impact on the intended audience and the quality of journalism.
2022 Winner: Poppy Askham, Palatinate
Best News Story
This award recognises quality news reporting from student publications. It will take into account the quality of sources, structure, and impact of the article on the intended audience.
Submission guidelines: Include one story and a supporting statement of up to 300 words.
2022 Winner: Max Kendix, Sarah Matthews and Daniel Hodgson, Palatinate
Best Specialist Publication
This award recognises the best specialist student publication, including academic journals and publications that focus on one specific area of interest. It is judged by the same principles as the Best Publication category.
2022 Winner: ScienceMind, King’s College London
Best Overall Digital Media
This award recognises the most innovative use of multimedia platforms, including using audio and video to enhance a publication’s overall content. This also includes the use of social media networks.
2022 Winner: Glasgow Guardian, University of Glasgow
Best Newcomer Publication
This award recognises the best new student publication. Publications may not be more than three years old (regardless of the length of SPA membership) at the time that the Awards close for entries, nor may it have won this category in the past. It is judged by the same principles as the Best Publication category.
2022 Winner: Kindred Magazine
This award recognises the best website of a student publication. It takes into account website design, production, content, overall impact and user engagement.
2022 Winner: Palatinate, Durham University
Best Science Publication or Section
This award recognises the best overall coverage of science in a student publication. It is open to specialist science publications, as well as science sections within a broader publication.
2022 Winner: Concrete, University of East Anglia
Best Science or Tech Piece
This award recognises the best science and technology reporting. This can include reporting on scientific research at institutions, as well as wider issues and topics in the science and technology sector including gaming. It will take into account the story’s relevance to the audience, structure and impact.
2022 Winner: Cameron McAllister, Palatinate
Best Sports Section
This award recognises the best sports coverage in a student publications, and is open to events on and off-campus. This award is not intended to recognise the achievements of any individual journalist, but the work of the publication in covering sports over the past 12 months.
2022 Winner: Palatinate, Durham University
Best Sports Reporter
This award is designed to recognise the best sports reporter in student journalism. This might be someone always out in the rain pitchside, first aboard the time bus getting the scoop or an exclusive interview, or who is always first with the latest scores home and away.
2022 Winner: Ruth Kelner, York Vision
Best Comment Piece
This award recognises the best opinion writing from a student publication. It will take into account structure, relevance to the audience and impact of the piece.
2022 Winner: Ela Heeley, The Beaver
This award recognises the best interviews made by student publications, whether that be with politicians, musicians, or even a local community worker. It focuses on the style, presentation and impact of the interview.
2022 Winner: Marino Unger-Verna, Roar News
This award is for longer, magazine style pieces, about a specific area or focus. Judges will look at flow, structure, impact, passion and storytelling.
2022 Winner: Charles Gorrivan, The Saint
Best Lifestyle Piece
This award recognises the best lifestyle piece. This could include stories on fashion, travel, or food and drink. It will take into account the story’s structure and relevance to the audience.
2022 Winner: Gracie Lingthwaite, Palatinate
Best Political Piece
This award recognises insightful political reporting from student publications. It will take into account the quality of analysis, timeliness and relevance to the student community. This is a news award, and political commentary should be submitted for Best Comment.
2022 Winner: Anasuya Virmani, The Gaudie
Best Arts and Culture Piece
This award focuses on various areas including music, film, arts and culture. Example submissions could include a gallery, album or film review, and so on. It will take into account the piece’s style, the quality of analysis and the relevance to the student community.
2022 Winner: Isabelle Brown
Best Creative Piece
This award focuses on pieces of which the primary focus is to entertain readers. This could be a piece of satire, a sketch, or other pieces of creative writing. It will take into account the quality of the entertainment provided as well as the style and structure of the piece.
2022 Winner: Alex Foster, The Oxford Student
Best Project or Initiative
This award recognises the best new project or initiative begun by a publication or a group therein within the last 12 months. Submissions can consist of traditional text-based articles or other multimedia content. This could include – but is not limited to – projects such as event series, a new podcast, a videography venture, or a fresh campaign.
2022 Winner: This is a new award for 2023!
This award recognises the best new contributor to an SPA member publication. The award is open to students who have joined an SPA member publication during the awards period and had no previous experience with student publications. It will take into account the range and quality of work the nominee has produced and their commitment to their student publication.
2022 Winner: Gemma Murphy, Strathclyde Telegraph
There are two Best Design awards – one for magazines, and one for newspapers.
These awards recognise the best-designed student publications in the UK and Republic of Ireland. This award takes into account professionalism, style, accessibility and innovation.
2022 Winners: Glasgow University Magazine, University of Glasgow and Palatinate, Durham University
Best Student Photographer
This award recognises the best student photographers, who provide their publications with memorable, high quality images showing student life and events.
2022 Winner: Abigail Mason, The Saint