More prizes for Sheffield at 2015 Magazine Academy awards

Magazine Academy attendees celebrating Magazine Academy attendees celebrating

Magazine journalism by Sheffield students has been honoured at the 2015 Magazine Academy awards – with two titles highly commended and a third scooping the top prize in its category.

The Felix Dennis Memorial Prize for best digital-only concept was given to Spin – a political magazine created by Thomas Ling, who recently studied MA Magazine Journalism. A heavyweight judging panel praised its "clear and targeted brand insight with a commitment to delivering content of relevance to a mobile-first generation".

They added: "The business plan was really impressive: thorough dissection of the market and detailed exploration of marketing/surfacing strategy."

Another Sheffield title was highly commended in the same category. The S Word – a sex and relationships website for young women – was acclaimed by the judges for its "well-planned and bold" content, "with eye-catching, teasing and clickable headlines, strong images and enhanced multimedia".

The team behind The S Word comprised Zoe Cassell, Saffron Otter, Megan Sutton, Becky Deeming, Yvette Tan, Ashley Chan, Polina Ganeva and Rebecca Elvidge, who completed their BA Journalism Studies degrees in 2015.

Competitive year

And Killstreak, a gaming magazine developed by Dale Walker for his MA Magazine Journalism coursework, was highly commended in the Redwood best original concept of the year category.

Only six magazines in total were singled out by the judges and we had three of them. It's a testament to our brilliant students and the fantastic work they do

Yvonne Illsley
Magazine journalism tutor

The judges said: "Professional online gaming is a big and rapidly growing business, and a website that gave access to the 'stars' could prove popular with users and advertisers drawn to the well-defined defined demographic. The print mag is nicely designed and is smartly pitched as a tie-in to an annual gaming event (captive market, low unsolds costs). Nice name too."

Magazine journalism tutor Yvonne Illsley, who accompanied the nominees to the awards night, said: "This was the most competitive year ever so we're thrilled to have won the digital award and taken home two highly commendeds. Only six magazines in total were singled out by the judges and we had three of them.

"It's a testament to our brilliant students and the fantastic work they do."

Dale added: "I really can't believe my concept, an obscure gaming one at that, was even considered, let alone commended. I can't praise Yvonne enough for her help and support over the past year. Thanks Sheffield Journalism!"

This year the awards took place at the west London office of Immediate Media. Sheffield students received eight nominations in all, building on the huge success of the Department of Journalism Studies in the 2014 awards.

More awards

Yvette Tan and The S Word are also shortlisted – alongside several other Sheffield students – in the 2015 Awards for Excellence given by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

The S Word is nominated for best student project; Yvette for features of the year. Also in the running from the Department of Journalism Studies are Sophie Grubb, Andre Rhoden-Paul, Robbie Gordon, and the team behind Mama magazine. Winners will be revealed at the NCTJ conference on 26 November.

And the work of two Sheffield journalism alumni was feted in the recent O2 Media Awards 2015.

Rosanna Austin, who graduated from the BA Journalism Studies degree in 2013, was highly commended in the best radio journalist category for her work with Radio Aire. Alex Evans, a Print Journalism postgraduate in 2010-11, is making great progress in his career with The Star, which was named best daily newspaper of the year.