Wednesday 8 witnessed The Courier receive four shortlists for the Student Publication Association's (SPA's) 2023 National Awards, across 23 award categories. The awards are hosted on a yearly basis in Spring, and bring together the future faces of UK journalism.
The publication attained two nominations itself, for 'Best Newspaper Design', and 'Best Project or Initiative', giving The Courier a 66.6% success rate in its applications — only just missing out on the nomination for 'Best Publication'.
In addition, two of the newspaper's Senior Editors were recognised for their contributions to Lifestyle and Arts and Culture. Student Media Officer Meg Howe, was shortlisted with nine others for 'Best Lifestyle Piece', and Deputy Editor Sophie McNally was also shortlisted alongside nine others for 'Best Arts and Culture Piece'.
The awards will be held at the University of Glasgow this year, with the winners being decided on Sunday, April 2. Multiple prestigious speakers, and award adjudicators will be in attendance, with writers and broadcasters from publications and stations such as The New York Times, The Herald, The Times, Daily Express, and STV News.
The first whole publication shortlist assessed how well The Courier presented itself physically and how its design was original and adapted from previous years, whilst "tak[ing] into account professionality, style, accessibility and innovation." The Courier highlighted eye-catching features of its creative use of thematic colour schemes and manipulation of imagery to facilitate journalistic storytelling. This was underpinned by weekly, engaging, instalments like Music's 'Lyric of the Week', Sport's 'A-Z Sporting Spotlight', Relationship's 'Blind Date', and our ‘A note from the Editor’.
The second The Courier shortlist for 'Best Project or Initiative' followed along a similar vein, assessing our nominated project of our February 13 'Sex Edition' that saw writers, Sub-Editors and Senior Editors write a paper filled with each and every article having a link to sex. This 1438th issue included articles such as the stigma of virginity at university, and a look at the sex lives of Newcastle University sports clubs.
As for individual nominations, Howe and McNally both went for section-specific article shortlists and succeeded. Howe's article focussed on what it is like to live with a disability (Cerebral Palsy), and how she strives every day to battle the associated stereotypes and pre-set definitions that people place on such conditions without even realising.
"The article was such a special one to write. It allowed me to build a better relationship with myself and come to terms with my identity easier," Howe commented. "I didn’t expect for it to be shortlisted at all, and it’s an absolute honour to see recognition for that work. Saying that I’m speechless doesn’t seem to cut it at all!"
McNally's article reflected on Newcastle University Architecture student Lizzie Esau, who balances a blossoming, star-studded, music career whilst aiming to speak honestly and emotively about modern-day issues like sexual violence against women, and poor mental health.
"It's an honour to see the newspaper all of our volunteers work so tirelessly on to get national-level recognition, we deserve to go all the way and win some too!" McNally stated. "I'm really pleased the article on Esau is being paid attention to too, as its a testament to the broader work ethic and talent of Newcastle University students".