As many of you know I was nominated for four awards – Best News Story, Best Feature, Best Reporter and Outstanding Commitment for the Student Publication Association awards. I was shortlisted for two: Best Reporter and Outstanding Commitment back in April this year.
The website I edit – SR News, a news and current affairs website based in Sunderland was also shortlisted for best website and the other online MediaHUB publications – Fashion North, Northern Lights and Sportsbyte were up for awards too after being shortlisted. Overall the hub was up for eight awards in total.
On Saturday I won an award. I was awarded the Highly Commended award for Best Reporter making me the second best reporter at a student publication in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
And that’s a dream come true.
It hasn’t been an easy road for me to get to this point in my career. I’ve always loved writing (what a cliche!) BUT I decided not to go and study journalism at university at the age of 18; started a social work degree at 20 and withdrew from the course a year later. Eventually I decided to go for a journalism degree in 2015. The rest is history.
Now I can say I’m an award winning journalist.
I must admit when I got on stage I was emotional but I couldn’t muster the right words. I was speechless and couldn’t think of how to put the facts of how I got there and how I was feeling into sentences. Yes, I know I’m training to be a journalist who has to do just that. I thanked the university and the SR News core online team (who are amazing – Ryan, Mariam and Theo you’re brilliant!) then left it at that.
Hours later I got emotional – and cried – because I was happy.
It wasn’t because I’d been recognised for the work I put into my career. It was because journalism has become my passion. I live and breathe journalism. It’s what I do to relax.
I feel at home in journalism and I don’t feel out of place like I have done throughout my life. I feel as though I’ve found what I’ve been looking for my whole life – being myself. I am myself when I write and tell people’s stories and report on what Doris from the corner shop is saying, just as much as when I get to interview the “big” people – the celebrities and the politicians. I can be me.
The award also gave me confidence – something I’ve also struggled with and something I’m not afraid to admit. Years of bullying pushed my self belief to the ground but even being shortlisted boosted my confidence. To be highly commended for something I love doing helped even more.
I also wanted to dedicate the award to my Grandad who has dementia. He’s pushed me in my education so my drive and dedication comes from him. I’m also a perfectionist so I’ve had to write this post so many times so it feels just
write; I mean right.
I could have said all of this on stage but I couldn’t because my dreams came true.
Once you find that thing – the career that makes your heart flutter and the butterflies roll around your stomach then you know you’ve found it.