Jim scoops top journalism prize for cyberbullying probe

Jim Norton receives the Cudlipp award from Lloyd Embley of the Daily Mirror

A recent Sheffield graduate has won one of the UK's most prestigious student journalism awards for investigating the difficult and highly topical subject of online harassment.

Jim Norton, who is now a trainee reporter with the Scottish Daily Mail, was this week handed the 2014 Hugh Cudlipp Award for Student Journalism by Lloyd Embley, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror (pictured).

The accolade was awarded for Jim's front page story which revealed that soaring numbers of internet crimes involving Facebook and Twitter were being investigated by police. Judges deemed that the piece met the criteria for the award by exposing a wrong or exploring a social issue in a comprehensive manner.

The award, which carries a £2,000 prize, was announced at the annual Hugh Cudlipp lecture, given by the Sunday Times chief sports writer David Walsh, in London.

As part of his investigation Jim – who studied MA Print Journalism in the Department of Journalism Studies last year – needed to interview victims of online bullying and stalking. His sensitive approach to the subject was informed by the teaching he received at the University of Sheffield, which specialises in journalistic law and ethics.

Important issues

The Scottish Daily Mail with Jim Norton's Cudlipp-winning storyJim said: "It is a great honour to win this award and I'm thrilled the judges felt Hugh Cudlipp, one of the great 20th-century pioneers of journalism, would have approved of my work. I hope to continue his legacy of championing important social and political issues.

"I would like to thank the team at the Scottish Daily Mail, my journalism tutor David Holmes at the University of Sheffield and my wonderful parents Adrian and Birgitta Norton."

David Holmes said: "I'm thrilled for Jim, and thrilled to know that the story that won the award began life as Jim's big MA project at the end of his course here in the Department of Journalism Studies.

"It was a challenging project, requiring a lot of tact, courage and perseverance on Jim's part, and everyone here was hugely proud to see it showcased on the front page of a national newspaper. This was great reporting from a great reporter in the making."

Hugh Cudlipp, who died in 1998, was a renowned newspaper editor regarded as a superstar of Fleet Street, credited with popularising newspapers in the 20th century.

The Hugh Cudlipp Award is given annually for the best article by a journalism student or graduate published in a national newspaper or magazine.

Photograph: Ana Escobar