15 February 2006

Graduate scoops award

A graduate from the journalism department at Sheffield University has scooped a top award.

Vicki Kellaway

Vicki Kellaway, a BA graduate, was named the Young Journalist of the Year in the Kent journalism awards sponsored by Shepherd Neame.

Vicki’s colleague at the Kent Messenger Group, political editor Paul Francis, was named Journalist of the Year for the second time.

Vicki impressed judges with stories for the KM Group’s Bromley Extra which showed her "proactivity and go-getting nature".

Her portfolio of stories included a series from Sri Lanka, which Vicki visited after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Vicki featured the work of a Kent doctor who was helping the victims.

Vicki and a photographer visited camps and orphanages and she wrote stories and colour pieces about the people, as well as news stories about the doctor's work.

Other stories included a piece about a Kent man who moved to New Orleans shortly before Katrina and was rescuing people in the flooding, a feature about the state of local finances in Bromley, a feature on the legal battle of a couple whose son was killed by a speedboat on a beach in the Bahamas and a story about the first woman to have a kidney transplant by robot.

She said: "I love being a reporter and I'm pleased my work has been recognised. Visiting Sri Lanka was an incredible experience for me. Thanks to my training I was able to do my job there in an accurate and informative way that was still sensitive to people's sorrow."

The judging panel included former BBC Radio Kent presenter Barbara Sturgeon, television personality Bob Holness, Jonathan Holborow, former editor of the Mail on Sunday and sports writer for The Sun and News of the World Justin Allen.