SSJA 2018



On the 30th June 2018, students from all around Scotland had the chance to showcase their journalism skills and abilities at the Scottish Student Journalism Awards which were organised by HND media and communications students from Glasgow Clyde College and ran in partnership with their headline sponsor – The Scottish Newspaper Society. The awards have been successfully running for the past seven years and are a chance for journalism students from Scottish colleges and universities from around the country to show off their best journalism work to industry professionals who are given the opportunity to vote and present their chosen winners with awards at the ceremony which took place at St Andrews in the square in Glasgow’s city centre. For the first time, this year’s event also ran in association with BBC Scotland as well as other popular media organisations. BBC Scotland introduced two brand new categories to the Scottish Student Journalism Awards this year with the ‘Best Student podcast’ and ‘Mobile Journalism story of the Year’ – awards which recognize work on digital platforms as well as traditional print and broadcast material. The panel consisted of expert judges including high profile journalists from the Daily Record, Glasgow Live, the Scottish Sun, BBC Scotland, No. 1 magazine and STV.

Students were given the opportunity to apply for any of the 13 different categories within the Scottish Student Journalism Awards which were opened to applications on the 5th of March 2018. The categories included the Callum McDonald Memorial Award, Scoop of the Year, News Story of the Year, Publication of the Year, Sports Story of the Year, Best Podcast, Mobile Journalism Story of the Year, Student Journalist of the Year, Arts and Entertainment Story of the Year, Website of the year, Feature of the Year, Broadcast of the Year and column of the Year. All of these categories were open to students studying journalism from all around the country and they could apply for more than one category at a time. The SSJA built a fantastic social media platform on the lead up to the big night which they used to promote the event and to also kept students up to date with everything that was happening on the night.

The event has become extremely popular with both students and their lectures as it gives students as it gives them the chance to set themselves aside from the rest and expose their talents to journalism professionals. It also gives the industry leaders a chance to identify the fresh up and coming talent from the educational establishments throughout Scotland. The event gives them the chance to engage with the students and students have received jobs and work experience placements in the previous years as a result of their efforts.

Director of the The Scottish Newspaper Society, John McLellan, said: “The Scottish Newspaper Society is delighted to have supported the Scottish Student Journalism Awards, which recognises and encourages the wealth of talent coming out of Scottish universities and colleges every single year, and it’s a great opportunity to strengthen the links between the current news industry and education.

“The breadth of the award categories also reflects the multiple skills required of the modern day journalist. In a highly-competitive world, the best young writers, editors and producers deserve recognition and we’re looking forward to some cracking entries. Glasgow Clyde College were once again at the forefront of all the attention this year as they managed to receive a number of shortlists in various different categories including publication of the year, the Callum MacDonald memorial award and student broadcast of the year.

The students at Glasgow Clyde have set the bar high for other colleges and universities over the past few years and have no intentions of lowering it anytime soon. Their ability in journalism reflects all the hard work and effort put in by their college lecturers who work tirelessly to make sure that every single student, studying on the practical journalism course, reaches their full potential. Students work hard all year round producing stories as part of their coursework and also on their group projects working on their college magazines and digital websites, stories which they can later put forward for the SSJA’s at the end of the academic year.

Glasgow Clyde College will be well represented on the night with a total of 14 nominations across all categories. The full list of nominees is as follows:

Student Publication of the Year: The Pattern & The Clyde Insider
Student Website of the Year: The Clyde Insider
Student of the Year: John Glover, Valentina Servera Clavell
The Calum Macdonald Memorial Award: David King, Sara Lovallo + David King
Column of the Year: Valentina Servera Clavell, Margaret Fisher
Arts and Entertainment Story of the Year: Iain Galbraith, John Glover
Podcast of the Year: Sean McAngus, Ewan Summers, Darren McConachie, Iain Galbraith
News Story of the Year: Stephen McCabe

The two publications submitted by the students of this college were vastly different but both found a specific niche in the crowded field and produced a work of real originality. The Pattern was designed as a local community magazine focusing on events in and around Paisley. Following the City of Culture 2021 bid, the second-year journalists decided that, while hometown pride was at an all-time high, they should capitalise and produce a magazine that would showcase the varied stories that the town provides. The Clyde Insider meanwhile opted for a more personal slant and chose to include a section of creative writing, poetry and first person columns among the more standard news and sports fare. This fresh approach to the publication undoubtedly helped them to nab a nomination.

Elsewhere Sara Lovallo and David King were up for the Calum Macdonald Memorial Award after their fearless work when their coverage of an Orange Order March turned sinister. The award is in memory of Calum Macdonald who sadly died in 2008, aged 32. The honour recognises journalism which has either made a difference to society or shows evidence of investigative work.

The newest category of the bunch is Podcast of the Year, with this being the first year it has been included. Two podcasts from Clyde College will be competing to be crowned the inaugural winner. Those are Covering the Baes, a weekly sports podcast put created by Darren McConachie, Ewan Summers and Sean McAngus that takes a deep dive into relevant Scottish sports stories and Thursday Thoughts, another show from Darren McConachie and Iain Galbraith that looks to tackle the cultural questions of the day.

The Column of the Year category also features two of our own with Valentina Servera Clavell and Margaret Fisher up for the prize. Valentina’s column was a first-hand account of the chaos during the Catalonian independence referendum as she faced troubles at her polling station when trying to cast her vote. Margaret Fisher’s “Granny Goes to College” recurring segment which took a look at how an older adult tackles the challenges of student life.

In the Arts and Entertainment section are John Glover and Iain Galbraith. John’s piece covered an event in Greenock with beloved children’s character Sooty.  An album review mixed with some political/social commentary is what was addressed in Iain’s piece as he looked at the latest album from Manchester art-rock band Everything Everything and the resonance it carried in this current social climate.

Other institutions feature heavily in the shortlist as well with Stirling University leading the pack at 18 nominations. Glasgow Caledonian students dominated the Mobile Journalism of the Year shortlist with all but one of the nominees coming from there.

The different categories have different sponsors and the awards will be handed out by various members of the industry. Certain awards will also be accompanied with an offer for work experience at places such as the BBC and STV.



The Scottish Student Journalism Awards took place last Wednesday evening at the beautiful St Andrews in the Square. It was a night to be remembered for all the right reasons as Glasgow Clyde College would once again be crowned Publication of the Year as well as some individual glory being bestowed amongst some very deserving people.

The night started with a red carpet drinks reception and so I found myself alongside Mr Iain Galbraith and Mr Ewan Summers at the behest of a photographer who wanted to take pictures of the three of us on the carpet. I felt this was a perfect start to the evening which was followed with a warm welcome from a lot of the media students who told you which table you were to be seated at. Once familiarised with our seats we greeted those who were also on our table and then it was time for the 2018 SSJA’s to begin.

A couple of guest speakers were invited and first up it was John Dingwall who delivered a riveting speech about his life in the music industry and interviewing all the many interesting stars such as Rod Stewart.

He was followed by John McKay from the STV News who spoke of how people must aspire to be what they want in life and they should soak up all the knowledge that they can in the time frame that education allows.

The awards show then began with success coming from all across the country. Both Stirling and Glasgow Caledonian were early winners before we came to the Arts and Entertainment story of the year where our very own Iain Galbraith was nominated. As the speech before the award was going on it felt as though they were talking about the piece which was crafted by the hand of Iain. As it turned out they actually had been mentioning his article all this time as they announced the 2018 Arts and Entertainment Story of the Year winner was Iain Galbraith from Glasgow Clyde College. It was beyond deserved for such a talented writer and I cannot lie, personally I was bursting with pride to see my guy up there collecting his award whilst also debuting a new hairstyle which had earlier got people talking on the red carpet.

As the awards show continued we arrived at Podcast of the Year making a debut at the 2018 SSJA’s. Personally I was nominated for two different shows and felt that there was a decent chance of winning. However, in life sometimes the fairytale doesn’t come true and you are left with the bitter taste of defeat in your mouth. It had proved to be a rollercoaster night so far and the ride was far from over at this point.

Soon after this, the award for Publication of the Year was being announced and we all waited with baited breath as it was announced that the winner of the 2018 Scottish Student Journalism Award for Publication of the Year was The Pattern. It was a beautiful moment for all of us who had worked so hard and particularly sweet for myself because the judge had specifically made mention about how well the advertising worked in the magazine. That had been a huge part of my year to work hard on the magazine and to finally get the recognition that we all deserved was very enjoyable and we all applauded as Hannah Gunn and Hannah McLaren collected the trophy on behalf of all of us.

We then wrapped up the night with some music while reflecting on what had been a very enjoyable evening of chatting to journalists from other universities as well as winning the big award that we all wanted. There was a saxophonist at the end who got people up to dance and celebrate what had been a very profitable night for Glasgow Clyde College as we retained our title of Best Publication for the second year in a row.

Will it be a three-peat next year? We can only hope that it might well be.

Other universities will have this second year at their disposal as they try to break the grip that Glasgow Clyde College have on the Best Publication award.

Stephen McCabe, Iain Galbraith & Darren McConachie 




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