The new ways of telling stories which caught the eyes of NCTJ Awards judges

Behind Local News
Behind Local News UK
3 min readMar 4


Podcasts, data journalism and in-depth projects were among the categories to be celebrated at the NCTJ’s annual awards.

Student project of the year was won by Jack Kinsella, of Liverpool John Moores University, looking at the special please rugby league club Widnes Vikings has in the place of the local community.

Olivia Snelson, who won the student journalism prize, claimed highly commended in the project prize for her podcast series “The Bloody Truth: Period Poverty and Shame”

Alexander Smith, of Liverpool John Moores, was commended for an investgiation in high level sport and development pathways for teenagers and young adults.

In the student data journalism category, Sharmeen Ziauddin of Kingston University won for her investigation into the impact social media platforms were having on the mental health of children.

Sharmeen, who now works at the Mark Allen Group, looked at data provided by social media companies such as Meta, and sought expert opinion too. Her findings were presented using immersive storytelling tool Shorthand.

Highly commended was Jinqian Li of the University of Sheffield, who looked at a range of scams used by online fraudsters, and the impact it has on the lives of victims. The resulting project was also presented on Shorthand.

Rut Orios Vidal, from the University of Kent, was commended for a data journalism project which looked at diversity in Disney films. The results were presented on infogram.

In the trainee data journalism category, Eamon Farhat of Bloombery took home the winner’s prize thanks to a detailed account of how London’s housing market crisis is spreading. Damian Shepherd, also at Bloomberg, was highly commended for work on the collapsing house prices in London’s financial district.

Isabella Boneham, who works on, was commended for her work looking at what happens next with Covid, concluding the importance of a global rollout of vaccines was essential.

The student podcast prize was won by Isabella Jewell, of the University of Salford, who explored the experiences of families using the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Oliver Murphy, of News Associates London, was highly commended for his podcast called ‘Klan Whisperer’, about black musician Daryl Davis who is trying to unravel generations of hate. It appeared on the SWLondoner website podcast.

Sharmeen Ziauddin of Kingston University, was commended for the podcast She Speaks, We Hear, which aims to amplify the voices of British Muslim women.

The trainee podcast prize went to Bobby Twidale, a freelance journalist, for Amir’s Story, a Love Story, which was part of the Everyday Extraordinary podcast. Everyday Extraordinary is described as celebrating the things we didn’t know about the people we spend time with every day.

Micaela Arneson, of Mission Based Media, was highly commended for the Alzheimer’s Disease Podcast, which looks at all aspects of the condition, including new treatments and support for caregivers.

Sam Harrison, of the Bury Free Press and Suffolk News, was commended for the Good Morning Suffolk podcast, which airs every Monday with the aim of focusing on feel good topics in the area.

You can read our full report on the winners from the NCTJ awards, here.