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Student scoops award created in journalist’s memory

An award created in memory of a former regional daily deputy editor has been won by a 21-year-old journalism student from Sunderland.

Kevin Overbury was deputy editor of Newcastle daily The Journal from 1987 to 1992 before going on to become a journalism lecturer at Sunderland University.

After his death from oesophageal cancer aged 63 in August 2012, the newspaper helped establish and annual award to be presented to the best magazine journalism student.

This year’s prize has gone to Ruth Edmondson after what judges described as an “astounding piece of work” in her final year.

Ruth gained particular praise from academics for her final project magazine, Japtannia, a female Japanese pop culture publication covering Japanese fashion, anime, manga and cosplay.

She is pictured after being presented with The Journal/Kevin Overbury Award as part of the graduation ceremonies held at the Stadium of Light this week.

Said Ruth: “I was really shocked to hear I’d won the award. I’ve worked so hard while studying at University, but I know so many others who have too.

“It felt incredibly special to be given the award and made all the hard work that has gone in while I studied in Sunderland so worthwhile.

“I love working in magazines and journalism, it interests me on a daily basis and nothing is ever the same. You’ve got to work for it.

“I’ve really enjoyed being at Sunderland, all the lecturers have been approachable and always willing to help you and give the support necessary. I’m now aiming to develop my contacts and hopefully land my dream job and write every day about something I love.”

Jenny McKay, who runs the Magazine Journalism degree at Sunderland, added: “Ruth has been a wonderful student to work with – highly conscientious, focused and determined to develop a career in journalism. She is super organised at all times, questioning, curious and intent on producing the best work possible.

“Her final magazine was absolutely astounding and of high quality. She has a varied set of interests and a willingness to try her hand at different tasks.  She always had questions, and she always took feedback and developed through it. And she was challenging, always making us deliver the best teaching.”