Rory Fenton, a 20-year-old Belfast student, was shortlisted today for the inaugural Student Human Rights Reporter of the Year award. Rory, who is a third-year Physics student from Imperial College of London University, will now be put forward for final judging – the result of which will be announced at a prestigious ceremony on 24 May.
Rory was picked, with nine others, from an excellent field of students from across the United Kingdom who entered the competition, which is being run by Amnesty International UK, the National Union of Students, and the Daily Mirror.
Entries needed to have been published or broadcast in the last year.
Rory, who wrote about refugees in Kenya, said: “I'm thrilled at being shortlisted. Journalism plays an vital role in uncovering human rights abuse and getting it across to the public so it's great to see Amnesty and the NUS supporting this work. Competitions like this mean that stories like mine can reach an audience they otherwise wouldn't.”
Susan Nash, NUS Vice-President for Society and Citizenship, a member of the judging panel who helped draw up the shortlist, said: “Rory uses a personal and compelling account to highlight the issues facing refugees fleeing from conflict in Kenya, something that receives little attention in the UK.”.
“We’ve received an amazing breadth and quality of entries covering everything from the death penalty, to prisoners of conscience, to freedom of speech. Students can play a vital part in human rights campaigns and the student media is central to raising awareness of issues from around the world.
“I hope that this year and in the future this award will help to build the careers of young reporters who care about human rights issues.”
Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, added:
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response and the quality of entries. It demonstrates that campuses up and down the country still take a keen interest in the world around them.
“Journalism has always played a key part in exposing abuses across the globe. We hope that this award helps inspire the students of today to be the human rights journalists of the future.”
The winner and two runner’s up will be invited to London to attend Amnesty International’s Media Awards, where nearly 500 of the nation’s top media names will gather.
The winner will be presented with their award at the event and be offered two weeks’ work experience with the Daily Mirror.