Campaigner for mental health and Croydon citizen journalist Nikki Mattocks was awarded a Certificate of Merit in the 2017 London Voices journalist competition sponsored by The Media Society and London Learning Consortium at a high profile event at the London Reform Club last week.  Nikki’s video entry talked to young people about mental health issues, and was part of a competition designed to encourage new talent into journalism.

 
Dubbed London Voices, the competition aims to promote emerging journalism talent across the capital and to generate a range of new perspectives and ideas about London. Aspiring citizen journalists submitted articles, videos or photos which debated and challenged the ways people think about their communities. The competition was launched against a background of discussion about the proliferation of ‘fake news’, and is part of an attempt to fight back by encouraging citizens to become part of reporting ‘real’ news about their communities and issues.
 
With no previous experience in video journalism but expertise in mental health and supporting young people, student nurse Nikki interviewed young people who have benefitted from her voluntary peer support group, Evolve, about their experiences and attitudes to mental illness. Her video entry can be watched on this London Voices website.
 
Media Society judges Patrick Barrow and Barney Jones loved Nikki’s “powerful story” and felt it was,“well told by a parade of characters to whom you can’t help but warm. It is good documentary story-telling, being powerful, passionate and centred on real Londoners with very real problems”. She was presented with her award by President of The Media Society, Richard Peel.
 
Nikki aims to continue with her nursing career alongside campaigning, and hopes to make more use of journalistic skills and media to raise awareness of mental health issues among young people in the UK.
 
Sponsor Stephen Jeffery from London Learning Consortium said The more we can encourage local people to get involved with citizen journalism, the better chance we have of reporting events and issues in a fair and balanced way. As CEO of a London training provider, it’s been great to help emerging journalists learn more about how to get their voices heard.”
 
Media Society Judge Patrick Barrow said of the competition in general, It’s been great to hear so many different voices reflecting how much London has changed – and stayed the same. Many of the entries were thoughtful and illuminating accounts of life in the capital from many viewpoints and judging them was a rewarding and enjoyable experience.