gair rhydd has been awarded highly commended in the ‘Best Student Publication’ category at the Student Publication Association Awards last , making it the second best student publication in the UK.
Quench Editor, Michael O’Connell Davidson, also received a highly commended award in the ‘Best Feature’ category for his article on mental health, titled ‘The Elephant in The Room’.
The award ceremony was held on Saturday 3rd May as part of a conference weekend which took place at Nottingham Trent Students’ Union.
The event marked the second year of the Student Publication Association, a student led association made up of student newspapers, magazines and publications in the UK.
Best Publication, which was won by Nottingham University’s student magazine, Impact, was judged by Nick Petrie, Deputy Head of News Development at The Times. In his feedback, Petrie acknowledged the pressures on student newspapers to ‘balance and hit several high notes to be considered top of its game’, adding that: ‘gair rhydd combines a sophisticated and elegant design with strong news credentials, maintain a focus on campus and Cardiff based stories’.
‘They have campaigned where appropriate, highlighted and encouraged participation in university life and challenged the university to be better for students. A student newspaper should be a reflection of the community it reports on and gair rhydd performs this role admirably’.
Editor of gair rhydd, Tom Eden, said: “It is an incredible honour for the paper to get this recognition. I am so proud of every single person involved this year. This award is for all of them who make this paper what it is. Congratulations are definitely fto Mike on his award – it was thoroughly deserved. He is a fantastic writer and has been an exceptional editor of Quench, which I thought was more than worthy of some accolades.
“I’m hoping that this time next year, we will have the top spot!”
Best Feature was judged by Diana Peasey, chair of Nottingham branch of NUJ, who commended O’Connell Davidson for his ‘beautifully written piece about the effects of depression’ which cites several historical figures who were also victims of depression, ‘well presented with photographs of those he mentions’.
‘This is an eloquent discourse about depression, the victims of depression, the failure of treatments and the stigmatisation attached to any individual associated with depression… It is a very readable, accessible and a grounded piece.’
This is the second time O’Connell Davidson’s piece, which featured in issue 136 of Quench, has received national recognition. In November last year it was nominated in the Student Journalist of The Year category at the Mind Media Awards.
Speaking of his success, he said: “It’s a real honour to be recognised on a national level. I owe a lot of my success to Sum Sze Tam, who’s been great support and encouraged me to enter the awards, and Johannes Laubmeier, whose page design was declared a contributing factor by the judge.”