Beyond gold: Leicester receives 'Grand Gold' award for Excellence in News Writing
The University of Leicester’s Newsblog – this very thing you’re reading now – has been honoured with a rarely given top-level award by the international professional body for higher education marketing and development. Please forgive us a little trumpet-blowing…
CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) is a global organisation bringing together and supporting staff from more than 3,400 universities, colleges and schools in 74 countries. CASE members work in fields such as marketing, communications, student recruitment, fundraising and alumni relations.
Each year CASE presents bronze, silver and gold ‘Circle of Excellence Awards’ in 41 categories. At the judges’ discretion, a ‘Grand Gold’ award may be presented to “entries that are clearly pre-eminent among gold-level winners in each category” and which "serve internationally as a model of excellence in the field".
This year 614 member institutions submitted over 2,500 entries to the Circle of Excellence Awards. At last month’s CASE Europe Conference in Manchester, awards were handed out to European winners, including the University of Leicester which received a Grand Gold Award in the category of ‘Excellence in News Writing (General News)’.
The award was presented by John Lippincott, CASE President, to Mike Simpson, Senior Web Communications Officer. Leicester’s Grand Gold is only the fourth ever awarded outside North America.
In reading the judges’ citation, Lippincott praised Newsblog for being “consistently innovative, original and creative”, noted our use of social media, and added that “throughout, the quality of the writing never wavered.” We would have been rather more modest but are happy to receive the praise.
Newsblog was launched in March 2010 as a means of presenting news about the University of Leicester directly to interested parties, acting as a complementary news source to our press releases which are specifically aimed at journalists. The stories, which are written by Mike and by Pete Thorley, Press Office Assistant, are designed to be accessible and interesting, demonstrating what a busy, exciting place the University of Leicester is. Newsblog also allows us to run stories about things which might not be considered ‘news-worthy’ by the media.
Five sample stories were submitted to CASE which exemplify the non-traditional approach of Newsblog:
- Turning on the light to go to the toilet does not give you cancer
- That great story about Rock Hyrax urine you've always wanted to read
- Dickens as soap opera: is Little Nell dead?
- Discovering the Amazon: Leicester researcher in startling photo find
- Action this day! School pupils become WW2 code-breakers at University masterclass
The rock hyrax story was prominently displayed among winning entries at CASE’s global conference in Chicago and is now on the wall of CASE headquarters in Washington DC. The CASE ‘Grand Gold’ certificate is now on the wall in our Division of Corporate Affairs and Planning.