NCTJ student wins prestigious journalism bursary

An NCTJ student at Belfast Metropolitan College has won the prestigious Paul Robinson bursary.

Iain McDowell, who is studying the Academic Year Diploma in Journalism, won the prize for his audio package entry on the subject of workplace stress and its effects.  He produced a two minute report entitled “Letitia’s Story” in which he interviewed broadcaster Letitia Fitzpatrick about her experience of mental health and workplace stress, and spoke to Jim Wells, MLA, deputy chair of the Stormont Health Committee and Dr. Michael Paterson, a clinical psychologist.

The Paul Robinson bursary is in its fourth year and is offered jointly by BBC Northern Ireland and the National Union of Journalists in memory of BBC NI Journalist Paul Robinson who died in 2009.   

The bursary is open to all first year NCTJ Diploma in Journalism students in Northern Ireland; second year students of HND Media Journalism in Northern Ireland and first year students at the University of Ulster of either BA in Journalism or Media Studies and Production courses.   

The award is sponsored by Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke and the brief was to produce a piece of journalism that would aim to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. 

Andrew Dougal, Chief Executive of NI Chest Heart and Stroke said: “NI Chest Heart and Stroke is highly conscious of the role that stress plays in increasing the risk factors of coronary heart disease, stroke and other serious illnesses.  Our congratulations to Belfast Metropolitan College student Iain McDowell on winning the Paul Robinson bursary.”

Belfast Metropolitan College NCTJ tutor Lynda Bryans said: “The journalism team at Belfast Metropolitan College are delighted that Iain has won the prestigious Paul Robinson bursary.  Dr John Coulter, NCTJ course co-ordinator and I were both privileged to have worked with the late Paul Robinson at BBC Northern Ireland.  He was a brilliant journalist and an inspiration to so many.  We are delighted our student Iain has been recognised for his hard work and creativity.”

Iain wins a bursary of £1,000 as well as an invaluable period of work experience at the BBC during spring/summer 2013.

Image (l-r): Course co-ordinator Dr John Coulter, Iain McDowell and course tutor Lynda Bryans