Goldsmiths students win two national awards for journalism

Mattha Busby being presented with his award by Lloyd Embley, editor of the Daily Mirror Pic: Daily Mirror/Phil Harris

Two journalism students from Goldsmiths, University of London, based in New Cross, have won national awards for their contributions to the industry.

Mattha Busby, 24, who graduated from MA Journalism last year and who is now a freelance, was awarded the  prestigious Hugh Cudlipp Award for Student Journalists while Sophia Ankel, 21, a current MA Journalism student, received the Guardian’s Hugo Young Award for political comment writing.

Busby received his accolade for a series of articles he wrote for The Guardian on online gambling, the perils of addiction and the role of gambling firms.   The Cudlipp award goes to students who have made outstanding contributions to journalism while exploring an issue of public interest. He received the award  last week from Lloyd Embley, the editor of the Daily Mirror, which sponsors the award in the name of the legendary former editor of the Mirror.

He said: “It was an honour to win the Hugh Cudlipp Award and to be recognised in this way by the London Press Club. As a young journalist, I still get goosebumps when a piece of mine gets published so for my work to have some impact and to be mentioned in the corridors of power is amazing.

“However, as we see today with Sky’s £1m fine from the Gambling Commission for the failures of their self-exclusion scheme, the industry has a long way to go to even by compliant with their own regulations.

“I’d like to thank Becky Gardiner, Terry Kirby, Angela Phillips, and all of my classmates on the MA Journalism course at Goldsmiths last year for all they’ve taught me and for their ongoing guidance and support. Goldsmiths itself also was very generous with me personally and I will be forever grateful.”

Ankel received the award, named in honour of the former Guardian political columnist, from Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner the following day. Her winning piece, “What I learned when naked pictures of me were leaked online”, talks about the terrifying and damaging practice that is revenge porn, and what it means for someone actually going through its consequences.

Sophia Ankel, centre, being presented with the Hugo Young award; from left to right Anushka Asthana, joint political editor and judge, Laura Trussell, runner-up, Katherine Cowles, runner-up, Katharine Viner, Guardian Editor in chief, Ankel, Eloise Millard, runner-up, Gary Younge and Polly Toynbee, Guardian columnists and judges. Pic: Anna Gordon/The Guardian Foundation

She said: “For me it wasn’t really about motivation. I just had a story to tell. It was more selfish and therapeutic for me than anything else. And I actually only wrote it a week before the submission deadline. I thought ‘you know what, I’m gonna do it, and see where it gets me’,”

“When I researched the topic of revenge porn online, I saw that there wasn’t really a first-person perspective. And that’s when I thought that, hey, my voice could be useful to others.”

“To all the others going through this: you are not alone,” she added, confidently. “A lot of other people, especially young women, are going through this. And do tell someone. Friends, family, support groups or revenge porn hotlines, even strangers – telling someone will lift a tiny bit of the burden off your shoulders.”

Anushka Asthana, joint political editor, Guardian News & Media and one of the judges said: “Sophia’s piece was the unanimous winner for the judges because it successfully combined a powerful and personal story, alongside a persuasive argument. In the year of #metoo and #timesup she offered the fresh perspective that online harassment should be taken just as seriously as incidents offline”

This is the second year the award has gone to a Goldsmiths MA Journalism student: last year Danny Lavelle won the award for a piece about being homeless. Lavelle is now freelance and has had his work published in the Guardian, the New Statesman and the Londonist.

Becky Gardiner, senior lecturer and co-convener of MA Journalism at Goldsmiths said: “We are very proud of Mattha and Sophia, not only for winning such prestigious prizes, but because both of them won for such high-quality and important pieces of work.”

“Mattha managed together a series of front-page scoops revealing the darker side of the gambling industry, while Sophia wrote a brave piece on the importance of taking revenge porn seriously. And to win the Hugo Young prize for the second consecutive year is wonderful.”

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