Oxford independent newspaper wins Society-sponsored Student Publication Award

Posted on: October 14, 2020 by Claire Meadows

An independent Oxford University newspaper has been awarded the Society of Editors-sponsored award for Best Newcomer at the Student Publication Association’s (SPA) Awards.  

Announced earlier this month, The Oxford Blue was crowned the SPA’s Best New Publication in 2020 having been online for less than a year.

Ian Murray, Executive Director of the Society (SoE) said that the SoE was delighted to support the emergence of new student publications.

He said: “The Society congratulates the team at The Oxford Blue on winning the award – a fantastic accolade given its short publication life.

“It is fabulous to support emerging talent and, amid the ongoing uncertainty on and off campuses caused by Covid-19, the vital role of student journalism in keeping students informed of matters that will affect them has never been more important.”

Founded by two undergraduates, Lois Heslop and Phoebe Hennell, the Oxford Blue was first published in January 2020.

The SPA said that the best newcomer award was a competitive field this year and the category comprised some excellent entries.

Jem Collins, SPA Trustee, said: “This was a really tough category this year, as we had some excellent entries in from student publications across the country. It’s always one of my favourite awards, as it focuses on students who have started their projects within the last three years, and it’s incredible to see how much they have achieved in such little time.

“The Oxford Blue really stood out for its high quality news coverage and inclusively efforts. Not only have their stories consistently been picked up by the national press, they have some impressive audience figures, and an almost entirely state-educated team.”

Sam Neve, Senior Digital Content Editor at MailPlus who judged the award said: “A fantastic effort by these two undergraduates to challenge the status quo in an environment where tradition has long been steadfast”

The first digital-only newspaper in Oxford, The Blue produces daily content on its website, as well as a weekly podcast. According to its website, it was founded in response to a perceived “closed off and inaccessible culture of Oxford student journalism” and it aims to provide “opportunities for students to develop their journalistic skills, regardless of background”.