Two alumni from City, University of London have won the joint prize of young journalist of the year at The Regional Press Awards.
Published (Updated )
Jessie Matthewson, (MA Magazine Journalism 2019) and Jack Dyson, (MA Newspaper Journalism 2017) scooped the joint young journalist of the year prize for their incredible work in local media.
The awards, which are hosted by the Society of Editors aims to celebrate the best of British regional and local newspaper journalism in 2019.
The two local journalists were named as the winners at an online ceremony which featured Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and presented by Alison Glow, President of the Society of Editors.
“Winning felt really surreal. I was sat on my sofa hurriedly trying to file a feature when I realised that it was my picture being broadcast on the video with the words 'joint winner' next to it,” said Jack.
Jessie said: “I was amazed to win the award as I have only been working as a journalist for a year.
“They announced the winners via YouTube and when I saw Jack’s name flash up I never expected that I would be named as well!”
Local media is vital
Now a BBC London reporter on City Hall, Jessie was nominated for her work as a local London journalist, where she has broken stories on anti-Semitic abuse on TFL networks, financial loss on London’s busses due to fare dodgers and her reporting of the 2019 Fishmongers’ Hall terror attack.
Despite admitting that the sector is continuing to face cuts, Jessie feels that local journalism has never been more important.
“Working as a local journalist allows you to see how political decisions can affect the everyday lives of people in our communities – it is vital that we help share their voices and tell the stories that they want to hear,” she said.
“At a time where a lot of people don’t trust the press, I think local journalism which tells a story honestly can restore a bit of faith in the industry,” she continued.
Echoing those sentiments was Jack, who was nominated for his reporting at the Kentish Gazette where he has covered stories on homelessness, the shortcomings of a self-exclusion scheme among gamblers and betting shops and male domestic abuse survivors.
Speaking on his article about domestic abuse, Jack said: “This story highlighted that men can also be victims of domestic violence.
“As a result, it brought to the forefront a subject that does not receive the attention it deserves and, hopefully, showed to others in similar situations the benefits of speaking out.”
Young reporters deserve to be here
Now award-winning young journalists, both Jessie and Jack encourage any aspiring reporter to hone their skills and never doubt themselves.
Jack said: “I'd definitely advise any aspiring journalist to perfect their 100 word per minute in shorthand as soon as possible.
“Having that skill opens up so many interesting story opportunities for you at magistrate and crown courts and inquests.”
“Newsrooms can be very intimidating places and it is easy to think that everyone else is better than you, but you have to remind yourself that you are there because you deserve to be,” Jessie said.
“The biggest barrier I have faced so far was the one that was in my head, but it is so important to keep going and stay confident. Especially as a woman or someone from a BAME background, your voice is just as important as anyone else’s and we need you in journalism,” she added.
See the Regional Press Awards for more information.
For more information about studying Journalism at City see here.