TWO young journalists from Spen have been honoured in one of the newspaper industry’s top awards.
Former Heckmondwike Grammar School pupil Emily Heward, 25, was named Young Journalist of the Year in the O2 Media Awards for Yorkshire and the Humber, while former Whitcliffe Mount student Samantha Gildea was highly commended in the same category.
The reporters both spent time doing work experience at the Spenborough Guardian while studying for post-graduate journalism courses.
They had to submit a selection of stories showing their diverse skills to the panel of judges.
Emily’s submission included stories written when she was working on the Halifax Courier; she is now at the Yorkshire Post.
The judges said of her work: “A superb selection of stories which not only demonstrated both skill and maturity but also showed that this was a young writer willing to work hard to get her story.
“A wonderful exclusive on a fake marriage conspiracy was followed by a string of other top stories including splashes on a boy menacing his community and a couple finding a bomb under their kitchen sink.”
Samantha, 24, who works on the Guardian’s sister paper the Batley and Birstall News, was the only reporter from a weekly paper to be shortlisted.
The judges said of her: “Samantha is a fabulous example of a good old fashioned news reporter. Despite her youth she already had great news sense coupled with the determination needed to break big stories.
“Her portfolio demonstrated her flexible writing style and ability to handle a huge range of topics. Another reporter whose work was followed by the nationals as demonstrated in her story about a Downs Syndrome boy being denied Holy Communion because of his condition.”
The Dewsbury Reporter was also honoured in the awards, gaining highly commended in the Weekly Newspaper of the Year category.
The judges said: “The Dewsbury Reporter was everything a local weekly newspaper should be. Proud of its community, determined to give value for money through comprehensive content and information sections and ready and willing to campaign when the need arose.”
The awards ceremony was held at the Northern Ballet.