A journalism student at the University of Sunderland has won a prestigious national prize. 

Second-year student Sophie Dishman won Best Reporter, Highly Commended, in the Student Publication Association (SPA) Awards.

The SPA Awards assess up-and-coming journalistic talent from across the UK and the Irish Republic. 

In addition to her university studies, Sophie edits SR News, a Sunderland-based current affairs website.

Sophie had been shortlisted for two SPA awards, in the categories of Best Reporter and Outstanding Commitment. 

At the awards ceremony, Sophie said, “I’m absolutely honoured to accept this award as I couldn’t have done it without the support of the SR News team, the mediaHUB and support from staff at the University of Sunderland.”

“The (SPA) conference has been an amazing experience and it has definitely kept my passion for journalism alive and has given me even more ideas!” 

A number of other Sunderland students and publications from the university’s mediaHUB were shortlisted for SPA awards, including Best Photographer, Best Interview, Best Specialist Publication and Best Website.

MediaHub is a ‘multi-media newsroom’ run by the university, which hosts SR News and other online magazines such as Northern Lights (music and entertainment), Fashion North (fashion) and Sports Byte (sport).

Alistair Robinson, senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Sunderland, said, “I am so delighted for Sophie and so proud of her.” 

“She has worked very hard, not only on her university modules but in her own time as a reporter and editor for our mediaHUB websites, notably SR News and Northern Lights.”

“She has in fact worked as a journalist all the time she has been studying journalism with us. She thoroughly deserves this award – I hope it is the first of many for her.”

“It was great to have so many nominations at the awards. The mediaHUB and its websites have become such an important part of our teaching at the university – they’re a great showcase for our students’ work and a chance for them to have real-life experience of working as journalists.”

“We are very proud of our student reporters and are sure they will continue to deliver passionate, informative journalism in the future.”

(Featured image courtesy of Roger H Goun)

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