'Rising star' journalism student receives prestigious prize
Shawna Healey is hoping to write the next chapter in her promising career after scooping a prestigious journalism prize.
Shawna, an MSc Journalism student, is one of a select group of talented writers to receive the Printing Charity’s Rising Star award.
She is the latest Leeds Business School student to win the prize, becoming the 16th winner from the university in the past six years.
She has been given £1,450 by the charity, which will be used for new equipment and to fund a professional qualification from the National College for the Training of Journalists.
Speaking about the win, Shawna said: “It feels great to be recognised. To be able to get funding for a professional qualification is really important for the next stage of my career.”
She was able to apply for the award after working one day a week at her local paper, the Wakefield Express, which she started as part of one of her modules at Leeds Business School.
“For one of my modules, you had to create a portfolio of work, a logbook and get a certain amount of professional experience, so I emailed the Wakefield Express to tell them I had a story.
“After they said yes and the story was published, I said ‘can I be really cheeky and get some experience for my university module?’
“That was in November. After the module finished, I carried on working with them.”
Sean Dodson, the course leader for MSc Journalism, was influential in encouraging Shawna to apply, having also helped numerous students to take part over the past few years.
Shawna added: “Without Sean mentioned this award to me, I wouldn’t have been able to get the crucial training I needed. Being able to get that funding has been brilliant.”
Since starting last year, Shawna has spent much of her time at the university studying from home and credits her lecturers for helping to make the most of her course away from campus.
“The lecturers I’ve had have been really good and I don’t think the quality of teaching has gone down at all. The education has been great, and the lecturers have been really understanding too of the difficult situation we’re in.”
Shawna has put her win down to her professional experience, and as she takes the next step towards her dream career, her advice for any journalism student is to do the same.
“If anyone wants to get into journalism, I’d definitely recommend speaking to your local paper. I think people think it’s difficult to get into, but as long as you show enthusiasm, you’ll get a chance.”