Three future stars of local journalism were heralded on Thursday as the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Prize for Local Digital Journalism Excellence was handed out for the second year.
The prize, created in partnership with Leeds Trinity University, was set up to recognise examples of strong online local journalism coverage by student reporters.
Overall winner was Luke Hudson, who created a site called Aireborough News, a hyperlocal reporting site dedicated to the suburb.
Yorkshire Evening Post’s Head of Live News Alex Evans said: “Luke is a journalist who has gone into a local patch and got to know the district and its people. This is true grassroots journalism and the website would stand well against any hyperlocal website.
“The website is neat with engaging headlines and the stories are well structured, with local quotes and well-presented informative journalism support pieces.”
Luke, aged 21, from Rawdon, said: “It was a great experience of working as a reporter with my own patch, as well as creating the website design, and then running the Aireborough News social media channels. “It is probably the thing I am most proud of in my three years at university, even as a one-person operation it's pleasing to see the impact my platform has had.”
The award was presented as YEP editor Hannah Thaxter was handed an honourary fellowship from Leeds Trinity University for her contribution to Leeds journalism and communities in her time as editor.
Clea Kanning, 23, from Huddersfield, was Highly Commended for her art site, Artsy In Leeds.
She said: “It was a brilliant experience building a site on a subject I’m passionate about and I feel like I’ve got something really special that’s mine to take home with me, something really special and unique.
Jonathan Whitfield, 20, from Warrington, also won Highly Commended for his local sports site, West Yorks Rugby Union. He said: “What kept me going every weekend was knowing that this could blossom into a truly unique site if I continued to put the work in. And it's amazing that all my hard work has been worth it."
Editor Hannah Thaxter added: “It was really tough to pick the winners this year among so many stand-out examples of local digital excellence. Congratulations to Luke, Clea and Jonathan and to all the students. The future of local reporting is clearly bright.”