Journalism student Luke Hudson graduates today with a first-class degree and the Yorkshire Evening Post Prize for Local Digital Journalism after impressing with his hyperlocal news site.
Now in its second year, the Local Digital Journalism prize was set up by Leeds Trinity University lecturer Rebecca Whittington and Yorkshire Evening Post editor Hannah Thaxter, to increase engagement in local news and encourage students to network and learn from industry professionals at the newspaper.
Final year students taking a digital media module, which required participants to create websites for niche online audiences, were eligible to be shortlisted for the prize if they produced web content with a Leeds-area focus. 21-year-old Luke created a hyperlocal news site for Aireborough called Aireborough News. He was among eight students shortlisted for the prize by University lecturers.
A panel of Yorkshire Evening Post journalists went on to crown Luke the overall winner of the competition. He was awarded the prize in recognition of his efforts at engaging with the community to find local stories, creating a website with multimedia assets and supporting this with well managed social media accounts. He was awarded a certificate and work placement at the newspaper.
Throughout his time at Leeds Trinity, Luke has also worked as a Media and Communications volunteer for CAFOD, the Catholic international development charity, and as a features writer for several Leeds publications.
Luke said: "I knew I really wanted to study journalism, and with the compulsory professional work placements Leeds Trinity seemed like the perfect place to learn by doing. It was my first choice, and after an interview they offered me an unconditional place.
"Studying at LTU gave my degree a sense of direction in terms of employability. I would urge every student to take any opportunity that might take you further in your career, because at the end of the day, and you never know who you'll meet or where you'll end up."
Luke has recently started an internship in Berlin and is working as a social media intern for financial tech company SumUp. He is using his skills in copywriting, PR, journalism and social media and would like to secure a full-time position in the city.
Rebecca Whittington, lecturer in journalism and founder of the Yorkshire Evening Post prize, said: "Luke showed his potential for journalism from day one of his course, when he demonstrated a real flair for writing and a tenacity for getting the story.
"It's been a real pleasure to see him further develop his skills over the course of his degree and to see him leave Leeds Trinity University with great results, the YEP prize and an exciting career ahead.
"We are all very proud of Luke and what he has achieved and we wish him and his graduating cohort all the very best for a rewarding and fulfilling future."
In today's ceremony, Luke will also be awarded the Journalism Programme Prize for outstanding academic performance in recognition of his final year results. He is also joined by Hannah Thaxter, Editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post as she receives Honorary Fellowship. Hannah was part of the judging panel for the Local Digital Journalism competition, selecting Luke as the overall winner.
*Photo credit: Yorkshire Evening Post