Concrete found success over the weekend at the Student Publication Association (SPA) national conference and awards. We previously announced that we had been shortlisted for 12 awards; on the evening, we were lucky enough to gain the accolade of highly commended in both the Best Design (newspaper) and Best Publication categories. There were 289 entries into the awards this year, more than ever before.

Midlands Regional Officer, Katrina Chilver, reading Concrete at the swap shop. Photo: SPA
Midlands Regional Officer, Katrina Chilver, reading Concrete at the swap shop.
Photo: SPA

Editor-in-Chief, Geri Scott, and deputy editor, Peter Sheehan, spent the weekend at the conference, which included sessions from James Thornhill, editor of the National Student and Tom Whiteley, the deputy editor of the Daily Mash. As well as hearing lots of speakers, they also had the chance to speak to editors from other student newspapers around the country, and participate in a publication ‘swap shop’.

Sophie Hannah Davis, SPA Chair, said: “It was a really successful conference and I’m delighted that everyone involved got so much from attending. The awards, as ever, were the highlight of a fantastic year for the SPA, and Concrete’s commendations are richly deserved”.

Under the category of Best Design (Newspaper), Brenda Wong from Student Beans said about Concrete: “It is clear that they has improved with leaps and bounds over what used to be the design of their paper. And they are right, it is definitely the little things that count! It’s cleaner, sharper and now infectiously readable – which is exactly what we need a newspaper to be. There has also been a massive improvement on the way they handled their info-graphics, which is important because I do believe this is a wave all student publications need to ride on.”

In the category of Best Publication, James Thornhill said of Concrete: “All publications nominated are doing a fantastic job for their local student community, but this publication have done some seriously impressive work this year that has developed new opportunities and support for their students. Negotiating new levels of control with the SU is an important move that will help their student journalists for years to come. Their media fair and organising of media careers events also set up something extra that is commendable. Like many other entrants, this publication in this last year have shown that student media can be so much more than just content, it can be a positive player in all campus life.”

A successful weekend for Concrete has bought home the proof that UEA Media Collective are producing sector-leading content.