Making airwaves – student radio journalist Lizzie Longley reaches awards final

A RADIO story about the provision of sexual consent workshops for male students at UK universities has secured Lizzie Longley a place in the final of a national journalism award.

She has been shortlisted for ‘Student Journalist of the Year’ in the prestigious IRN (Independent Radio News) awards which are run in association with Sky News.

The final year journalism student at Northumbria University submitted a piece of radio news which looked at the debate around the provision of sexual consent workshops for young men in UK universities.

The 20 year-old travelled around the country to interview key individuals, before recording and editing all the footage herself – while studying for the final year of her degree. She was thrilled to find out that all the hard work paid off.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw my name alongside the other nominees – I kept having to double check, then I rang my Mum and burst into tears,” she said,

“I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was 10-years-old so to be graduating from university in a few months with so many opportunities ahead of me is just a dream come true.”

The ‘Student Journalist of the Year’ award recognises an individual who ‘excels in producing and presenting news content’ and is sponsored by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) – the UK’s largest independent journalism accreditation body who accredit Northumbria’s journalism courses.

The awards celebrate and showcase the very best journalism in UK commercial radio – and this year has seen a record number of entries.

But the IRN judges aren’t the first to spot Lizzie’s talent.

Mark Davenport, Programme Leader for Journalism at Northumbria whose industry background includes 12 years as a Senior Producer with ITV Tyne Tees, said:

“Lizzie has a flair for broadcasting and has shone as a radio reporter as well as a TV presenter.

“Our journalism course aims to give students practical skills like interviewing technique, writing across a range of media and audio and video editing. We also ensure they are given an insight into theories so they can understand and analyse news.

“Lizzie’s brought those skills together and combined them with her own drive and determination and her nomination is the fruit of her efforts. I think we’ll be hearing and seeing a lot of her in the industry in the very near future.”

The winners of the IRN awards will be announced on Thursday, March 10, at a ceremony in London, hosted by Sky News and Sky Sports presenter Sarah-Jane Mee.

For Lizzie, this will be the perfect networking opportunity ahead of her graduation – which she admits will be bittersweet.

“I’m so glad I studied at Northumbria – it’s the best thing I could have done – so I’m excited to start my career but really sad to be leaving university.

“The lecturers have been so supportive – they will always make time to help you if you need it and really go above and beyond to make sure you have the best possible experience. And you can completely trust their opinions because they have had successful careers as journalists themselves.

“For me, the biggest thing I’ve gained over the past three years is confidence – at school, teachers said I had no confidence but the academics here really make you believe in yourself and feel like you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”