Journalism alumni celebrate press awards success


Several BCU graduates are celebrating huge success after being shortlisted in the Regional Press Awards.

The graduates, who now work at Birmingham Live, have been shortlisted in a variety of categories for the awards which take place on Wednesday 8 March.

Anisah Vasta, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in English and Journalism in 2021 and is now a Trainee Reporter at Birmingham Live, has been shortlisted in the Reporting Communities award category for the media outlet’s ‘Brummie Muslims’ newsletter.

The talented alumna has also been shortlisted in the Digital Initiative of the Year award for Birmingham Live’s ‘Commonwealth Stories’ podcast, alongside fellow BCU graduates Nathan Clarke, who completed an MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism and now works as a Community Reporter, and Aida Fofana, who also graduated with an MA in Journalism and worked for Birmingham Live before becoming a Production Journalist at ITV Central.

Nathan Clarke has also been shortlisted in the Reporting Communities award for Birmingham Live’s ‘#HandsNotHate’ campaign, and Jane Haynes, Politics and People Editor who graduated from BCU with an MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism in 2018, has additionally been shortlisted for Campaign of the Year.

Anisah is delighted to be shortlisted in the awards.

She said: “The Brummie Muslims newsletter has been one of the fastest growing newsletters in Birmingham Live with over 4,000 subscribers. The opportunity to be able to work on it along with our team has been really amazing. Most importantly, it has highlighted the important issues facing the Muslim community in Birmingham.

“The Commonwealth Stories was produced by myself and fellow community reporters and BCU alumni Aida Fofana and Nathan Clarke.  With the backdrop of the Games coming to Birmingham, we wanted a podcast that put their voices at the heart of examining what the Commonwealth means to them, and how that manifests itself in modern Birmingham.

“It feels incredible for the work of our team to be recognised, and such amazing journalists too who really care about the communities they report on.”

Anisah, who is celebrating her nominations less than two years since she graduated from BCU, has already achieved many of her career goals, but still has a huge amount she wants to achieve in her role.

She said: “Over the years, I have learned the importance of creating community connections and links especially in minority communities.

“The issues you speak about can be sensitive, so I’ve found a way to approach and communicate with them. My career highlights have been being able to document the month of Ramadan each day through the holy Islamic month as it was a way to celebrate the month, but also find interesting stories within the community.

“My aim is to tell the stories of underrepresented communities. I feel I have achieved this so far, but there is always something you can do to tell the stories of underrepresented communities through speaking with them about the issues that matter to them.

“I would advise current Journalism students to look into the stories that haven’t been told yet.”

The Regional Press Awards are taking place in London on Wednesday 8 March 2023.

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