This is the tenth year that we have organised the 30 To Watch awards, and we’re delighted that the event has grown in size and stature with every passing year.
A year like no other
Keith Gladdis, Senior Director, Media
For young journalists wanting to make their way in the news industry the stakes have never been higher.
A global pandemic means there is an insatiable appetite for high quality, in depth news.
But holding the government to account, testing the economic impact of Covid-19 or challenging the misinformation of the anti-vaxxers is difficult when reporting in isolation under lockdown.
Elsewhere there has been a conveyor belt of polarizing stories for them to contend with ranging from Trump, Black Lives Matter, Brexit and of course, Harry and Meghan.
All this under the intense glare of social media where a young reporter can soon become the subject of the story, as our brilliant 2020 Gold winner Nadine White experienced when she asked a simple question of a government minister.
Meanwhile the traditional business model for the industry is falling apart with a collapse in advertising revenue both in print and online leading to news titles closing and swathes of job losses.
The fact that this year’s entrants for the MHP + Mischief 30 To Watch: Young Journalist Awards have so successfully negotiated the difficulties of lockdown and carried on working to such a high standard is a testament to their professionalism and hard work.
This is the tenth year of the 30 To Watch awards and their growing stature in the media industry is reflected in the record number of entries.
Four hundred young journalists from titles ranging from The Wall Street Journal to PopSugar submitted entries of an extraordinarily high standard across the board. This made the task of the judging panel, chaired by head of the Cardiff School of Journalism Richard Sambrook, particularly tough.
One trait stood out in the journalism of all our winners, bravery.
The bravery to hold powerful people to account, to challenge stereotypes, to pursue unfashionable stories and to speak for those without a voice.
We saw powerful journalism on issues ranging from sexual abuse, police corruption, the migrant crisis, bereavement in the young and the care of the elderly.
This is journalism with a real-world impact, many of these stories have led to changes in our society.
The extraordinary lengths young journalists will go to in the pursuit of the truth, even with the restrictions of the pandemic is a clear indication of the talent on display.
Now, as the UK emerges from lockdown we need to understand the impact working in the pandemic has had on our young journalists.
The buzz of the newsroom has been lost to the isolation of working alone. Meeting people in person has been lost to endless Zoom calls or direct messaging on social media.
This year’s 30 To Watch
- GOLD: Sanya Burgess, Sky News
- Alexandra Heal, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
- Inzamam Rashid, Sky News
- Layla Wright, Freelance
- Susie Coen, Daily Mail