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The Referendum Boys win prestigious journalism award

City alumni have won the Hugh Cudlipp Award for their coverage of the Scottish independence referendum

by Nicola Ranson (Communications Officer)

MA Broadcast Journalism alumni Ryan Ramgobin and Adam Barr have won the coveted Hugh Cudlipp Award for their coverage of the Scottish independence referendum. The pair set up a YouTube channel in September 2014 called The Referendum Boys to capture the "voices on the ground" of voters in Glasgow.

The Hugh Cudlipp award, that includes a £2,000 prize, is an annual competition run by the Daily Mirror to honour its late Editorial Director. The competition looks for stories exploring issues of public interest and this year was the first to allow video journalism entrants.

Ryan said: "We're delighted with what we achieved in Glasgow - we had no expectation that our coverage would receive thousands of views and proud that we were often ahead of established news services like Vice News and Channel 4 News."

The channel had more than 170,000 views and their content was picked up by Yahoo!, The News-Hub and the Mail Online. They were also asked to report for BBC Surrey on the morning of the result and gained a vast following on Twitter.

Adam and Ryan's presence was well-received by the voters in Glasgow who felt that they were being underrepresented on the traditional news broadcasts. "Chants of 'shame on you BBC' rang across crowds in George Square whilst we were there," Adam said.

"We remained balanced in the sense that this wasn't a news package built with a reporter's script or media bias. Our footage consisted purely of voices on the ground, so we were completely transparent and let our audience decide for themselves. This is best exemplified with our coverage of 'no' voters when everything kicked off. This was footage that would never be shown on TV as it was seemingly the ugly face of the 'no' campaign."

Director of Broadcasting at City, Professor Lis Howell said: "It was great to see two City Broadcast alumni winning a prestigious press award. Their films really caught the atmosphere in Glasgow at the time of the referendum. Well done to Adam and Ryan, this shows how the skilful use of moving pictures is becoming essential to all journalism platforms."

Ryan and Adam have now set up a new project called Zbeckabee which they are describing as "a return to grassroots journalism, reporting the news that's not on the news". Through Zbeckabee, they plan to achieve similar coverage of the 2015 general election in May.

Ryan and Adam follow in the footsteps of City alumnus Simon Murphy who won the Hugh Cudlipp award in 2013 for articles published in The Guardian.


The video George Square Voices: Eva and Nina look back showed a pair of disappointed young voters on the morning after the referendum. The interview provided insight into why the youth aligned with the Yes messaging and showed the bitter realisation of an unsuccessful political campaign.

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