BBC Radio 4's Today programme launches their first ever student journalism awards

BBC Radio 4’s Today programme has launched its inaugural student journalism awards aiming to discover and acknowledge the best in student media.

Published: 19 July 2018
We are looking for the next generation of Today programme journalism in our universities and colleges - the talent is there, it is up to our judges to find it.
— Sarah Sands
  • Named the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme Student Journalism Awards - its aim is to discover and champion the best in student journalism
  • Today Editor Sarah Sands, as well as the programme’s team of presenters and leading journalists from a range of media such as Buzzfeed, The Times and The Spectator will form the judging panel

The BBC Radio 4 Today Programme Student Journalism Awards will celebrate students across a range of individual and team categories.

The winners of the two most prestigious awards will be offered paid employment with the BBC.

The winner of the Student Journalist of the Year Award will be offered a position on the BBC News Journalism Trainee Scheme as the Today Programme News Trainee, a role that will involve placements on Today and at various departments within BBC News.

The winner of the Today Programme Apprenticeship Award will be offered a position in the BBC News Digital Journalism Apprentice Scheme as the Today Programme News Apprentice, a role that will also involve placements on Today and will work towards a level three diploma in journalism.

Forming the judging panel is Today’s Editor, Sarah Sands, and the programme's five presenters - Mishal Husain, Martha Kearney, Justin Webb, Nick Robinson and John Humphrys. In addition to the team, the other judges are the BBC’s Media Editor - Amol Rajan, Janine Gibson - Editor in Chief of Buzzfeed UK, Isabel Hardman - Assistant Editor of The Spectator, Charlie Cuff - Deputy Editor of gal-dem, Deputy Editor Emma Tucker and Columnist Janice Turner from The Times, and author and Editor-at-Large for the London Review of Books, Andrew O’Hagan .

The awards highlight a desire to champion new talent and also recognise Today’s long connection with student audiences. This year alone, Today has had outside broadcasts from Kent, Glasgow, Sheffield, Aberystwyth and Warwick universities, with more planned.

Sarah Sands, Today Editor, says: “We are delighted to launch the Radio 4 Today Programme Student Journalism Awards. The Today programme is the home of ideas, debate, analysis and challenging thinking. Our universities are where ideas and assumptions need to be tested and freely discussed. We are looking for the next generation of Today programme journalism in our universities and colleges - the talent is there, it is up to our judges to find it.”

Spread across seven categories the awards will include:

Individual awards:

  • Today Programme Student Journalist of the Year for outstanding journalism on any platform
  • Today Programme Apprenticeship Award for outstanding journalism on any platform by an individual studying for any non-degree qualification
  • Today Programme Student Broadcaster of the Year (radio/podcast/video)
  • Today Programme Student Visual Journalist of the Year (photography/graphics/design/animation)
  • Today Programme Student Critic of the Year (cultural criticism/appreciation on any platform)

Team awards:

  • Today Programme Student Publication of the Year (print or digital)
  • Today Programme Student Programme of the Year (regular broadcast or podcast or video channel)

The winners in the Student Broadcaster, Student Visual Journalist and Student Critic categories will be offered two weeks’ work experience on the Today programme. For team categories, up to four members of the winning teams will be invited to watch an edition of Today being broadcast and meet that morning’s presenters.

Applications will open today as Today broadcasts live from the University of Warwick, with a closing date at the end of August. Students can enter the awards at: www.bbc.co.uk/today

Notes to Editors

  • Today has been broadcasting from universities over the past academic year, and has more university specials in the planning stages.
  • The awards are open to entrants aged over 18 and in full- or part-time education in the UK in the academic year 2017-18, with the exception of the Today Programme Apprenticeship Award. That award is open to full- and part-time students studying in the UK who will be aged over 18 in September 2019 who are studying for a non-degree qualification.
  • In the individual categories entrants will need to submit three examples of work they have produced while in full- or part-time education and published/broadcast in media aimed either solely or predominantly at a student audience during the academic year 2017-18.
  • Entries in the team categories will need to submit three editions of a publication/programme/podcast. In the case of digital-only publications or video channels, entrants will be required to submit a link to their home page and live links to three pieces of work they believe best represents their publication or programme.
  • Entrants will be required to complete a supporting statement outlining what makes their work outstanding, and when submitting work with multiple authors (for example, multiple by-lined articles or co-presented broadcasts) to specify exactly what their contribution to the item was.
  • The Today Programme News Trainee will have a place on the BBC’s prestigious Journalism Trainee Scheme where their placements will have a greater focus on the type of journalism that makes the Today programme tick - big ideas, debate and analysis.
  • The Today Programme News Apprentice will be on the BBC’s Digital Journalism Apprenticeship Scheme, and will have a greater focus on radio craft alongside developing digital skills.
  • Winners in the Today Programme Student Journalist of the Year Award category and the Today Programme Apprenticeship Award category will need to meet all the normal assessment and HR criteria associated with starting on similar positions in the BBC before taking up their posts in September 2019.
  • Work experience will be offered on the same terms as standard BBC work experience. If winners are unable to take up the offer of work experience with Today they will be given the opportunity to take the work experience at another BBC News location elsewhere in the UK.
  • Shortlisted entrants will be invited to an awards ceremony at the BBC Radio Theatre on 24 October 2018 where the winners will be announced.
  • Full Terms and Conditions will be published on 19 July 2018 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/today

About the Judges

Sarah Sands

Sarah Sands is Editor of Today on BBC Radio 4. Before that she was Editor of the Evening Standard, has edited The Sunday Telegraph, and has worked at the Daily Mail and Readers Digest. Sarah trained as a journalist on the Sevenoaks Chronicle.

Amol Rajan

Amol Rajan is the BBC’s Media Editor, and presenter of The Media Show on BBC Radio 4. Before that he was editor of The Independent. He has written extensively for publications including New Statesman, The Spectator, GQ, and Politico. At university he was editor of Varsity, the Cambridge student newspaper.

Janine Gibson

Janine Gibson is Editor in Chief of BuzzFeed UK. Previously, she was deputy editor of Guardian News & Media, and she was editor-in-chief of Guardian USA from 2011 to 2014, during which time she was in charge of the multi award-winning Edward Snowden revelations.

John Humphrys

John Humphrys is a presenter for Today on BBC Radio 4 and has been since January 1987. He’s also been a foreign correspondent and presented the main evening television news for the BBC. John started out in journalism at the Penarth Times.

Emma Tucker

Emma Tucker is Deputy Editor of The Times. Emma joined The Times from the Financial Times where she started her career as a graduate trainee. During her career with the FT, Emma covered the European Union in Brussels, and rose to become Editor of the FT Weekend.

Nick Robinson

Nick Robinson presents Today on BBC Radio 4 and was previously the BBC’s Political Editor. He also hosts the BBC Radio 4 podcast Political Thinking, and has presented numerous BBC documentaries. At university he was involved in a range of student media.

Isabel Hardman

Isabel Hardman is Assistant Editor at The Spectator and writes a weekly column for the Daily Telegraph. She is the author of Why We Get the Wrong Politicians and is a frequent contributor to BBC political programmes. While at Exeter University she was news editor of Exeposé.

Martha Kearney

Martha Kearney is a presenter for Today on BBC Radio 4. She has worked extensively as a political reporter for the BBC, and has presented several BBC arts programmes notably Newsnight Review.

Andrew O’Hagan

Andrew O’Hagan is an author and Editor-at-Large for the London Review of Books. He has been writing fiction and reported stories for 25 years, and has been nominated for the Man Booker Prize three times. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Mishal Husain

Mishal Husain presents Today on BBC Radio 4 and the News at Ten on BBC One. She has reported from around the world for the BBC, and was the only British journalist to interview Prince Harry and Meghan Markle when they announced their engagement.

Charlie Cuff

Charlie Cuff is deputy editor of gal-dem, and also writes for Dazed, the i newspaper and the Guardian. She also regularly contributes to publications such as Vice and the Financial Times. She won the 2017 Georgina Henry Award for Innovation in Journalism.

Justin Webb

Justin Webb presents Today on BBC Radio 4. Previously he was the BBC's North America Editor, and before that led the BBC’s coverage of European affairs from Brussels. While a student he wrote for the London Student and The Beaver.

Janice Turner

Janice Turner is a columnist, interviewer and feature writer for The Times. She has also written for other publications including The New Statesman and The Guardian. She has been shortlisted for the British Press Awards six times, winning Interviewer of the Year in 2014.