Student Publication Association National Conference 2024

The SPA National Awards and Conference is back for another year!

Fresh off of our most successful year yet at Glasgow in 2023, #SPANC24 is coming to Bristol from 12th - 14th April 2024 with a top lineup of speakers, workshops, networking meet ups and the UK’s largest student publication awards.

Last year we celebrated our 10th anniversary by bringing a record-breaking number of talented student journalists from up and down the country together in one place for a weekend of Scottish fun.

This time around we’re taking SPANC to the South West for the first time ever. Thanks to our host publications Epigram, The Croft, The Bristorian, La Civetta and That's What She Said Magazine, we're ready to take over the city of balloons, bridges and Banksy.

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Meet our host publications

What's included in my ticket?

  • A welcome social on Friday (with food!) giving you the chance to meet other student journalists and let off some steam.

  • Access to the full conference programme with panel discussions and keynote speaker events from top journalists.

  • Access to one-to-one drop in sessions with senior industry professionals, as well as workshops to get bespoke feedback on your work.

  • Your chance to run for election to be part of the SPA’s executive committee next year and put on an even better event.

  • A goody bag full of freebies, last year’s included sweet treats, magazines, our glossy brochure and more.

  • Meet students from across the UK and Ireland, network, and swap copies of your student publications.

  • A reserved seat at the SPA Awards, including a three-course sit-down dinner and drinks, as we celebrate the best of student journalism.

  • Meals during the conference itself on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

  • Accommodated tickets also include breakfast and a bed in a twin room at a hotel in central Bristol.

  • An opportunity to vote at our AGM to shape SPA policy for the next year (this year we added three new awards categories based on last year’s motions).

    Thanks to our sponsors for supporting #SPANC24...

    Countdown to #SPANC24









    #SPANC24 is set to be our biggest national conference yet - giving you the chance to hear from industry experts, network with members from across the UK and Ireland, brush up your skills with our hands-on workshops and leave with plenty of tips for improving your student publication and entering the journalism industry.

    Ticket sales for #SPANC24 are now closed, so it's time to get ready for a great weekend of talks, panels, networking, workshops and awards.

    We'll hear from headline speakers at major national titles, as well as freelancers and those who have recently made the jump from university to full-time journalism about how they did it. Keep an eye on our Instagram and Twitter for speaker announcements, and check out those already announced below

    Our #SPANC24 speakers

    Check back as we reveal more of the industry professionals and experts joining us in Bristol in the coming weeks

    • Adam got his first proper job on children’s news programme Newsround after being spotted by a cameraman on a training course.

      He first got involved in political journalism during a stint in the BBC’s Westminster newsroom in 2008 and has also worked in Manchester as BBC News North of England reporter, presented 60 Seconds on BBC Three and has reported for BBC Breakfast and from Brussels. He was part of the Brexitcast team and was the BBC’s chief political correspondent.

      A veteran of student journalism, he edited The Oxford Student where he first met the BBC’s political editor Chris Mason.

    • Rianna Croxford is an Investigations Correspondent for BBC News. Based in London, she specialises in uncovering abuses of power, corruption, and social injustices. She also presents and produces podcasts and documentaries for BBC Panorama. Her recent series, “World of Secrets: The Abercrombie Guys”, has led to a criminal investigation and a lawsuit accusing the former CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch of running a sex-trafficking operation. Rianna is a British Journalism Award winner, Forbes 30 under 30 honouree, and a Royal Television Award and Orwell Prize finalist. She previously worked as the BBC’s Community Affairs Correspondent and in Washington DC reporting on breaking news across America.
    • Hugh Pym studied for a postgraduate diploma in radio journalism at Falmouth before working at the independent stations Wiltshire Radio and then Viking Radio in Hull. After freelancing at LBC he joined BBC Radio as a financial news reporter. He was a producer on the Channel 4 programme Business Daily before joining ITN as business correspondent. He then became ITN Scotland correspondent before a spell at Westminster as a political correspondent. Hugh freelanced with Sky News and rejoined the BBC in 2001. He was a BBC economics correspondent until 2008, when he took on the role of acting economics editor during the maternity leave of Stephanie Flanders covering the banking crisis. Following her return, he became the BBC's chief economics correspondent. In March 2014 he was appointed as the first health editor for BBC News. This has involved covering a range of health policy issues, most focussing on the work of the NHS. Hugh was the recipient of the 2020 British Journalism Review Charles Wheeler award in recognition of his coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
    • Joseph Harker is Senior Editor, Diversity, and Development at The Guardian. He is also co-lead of the Guardian's Legacies of Enslavement project – which examined the links between the Guardian's founder and transatlantic slavery, issued an apology, and drew up a £10m+ restorative justice action plan. He is a former Deputy Opinion Editor and for over 20 years he has run the Guardian's Positive Action Scheme, which offers enhanced work experience to aspiring journalists who are ethnic-minority or have a disability: many have gone on to have successful media careers. Before joining the Guardian, Joseph was Editor and Publisher of the weekly newspaper Black Briton, and prior to that he was Assistant Editor at The Voice. Joseph also sits on the board of the Society of Editors.
      Joseph Harker
      The Guardian
    • Harriet Fitch Little is food and drink editor of the Financial Times' Weekend Magazine, where she commissions the weekly restaurant review and wine column plus recipes and features. She previously worked as editor of Kinfolk magazine and as a newspaper journalist in Phnom Penh and Beirut. At university she co-edited Gender Agenda, the feminist zine from Cambridge Women's Campaign.
      Harriet Fitch Little
      Financial Times
    • Júlia Belas Trindade is a PhD student at the University of Bristol in the Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, currently researching the media representation of women footballers in Brazil. Júlia is also a sports journalist specialising in women’s football coverage and has covered events such as the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the UEFA Women’s Euros, the UEFA Women’s Champions League,  as well as England’s Women’s Super League, and Brazilian national tournaments. As a journalist and researcher, she aims to improve media coverage of the women’s game by respecting players’ identities and stories.
    • Emma has extensive experience in policy and elections-focused research, looking after clients from the media, political parties, think tanks and campaigning organisations at Savanta. She is the go-to person for quick-turnaround polling, with a specialism in question design among the general public. Alongside this work, she oversees large scale quantitative research for a variety of clients including the Home Office, National Lottery Community Fund, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Electoral Commission.   Prior to joining Savanta’s graduate scheme in 2018, Emma completed a degree in Politics and Economics at the University of Nottingham and worked for the Electoral Reform Society.
      Emma Levin
    • Chris is Savanta’s Political Research Director, having previously worked for Survation and the House of Commons. He has worked with a wide range of clients and audiences from media organisations, think tanks, trade unions and campaign organisations. Chris has experience of both qualitative and quantitative projects across the political spectrum and has worked on the last three UK General Elections, the 2016 EU Referendum and the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum.  Chris is a regular political commentator, and has featured on BBC, Sky and ITV, and provided election-night analysis for GB News and Al Jazeera. Chris has a BA Hons in British Politics and Legislative Studies from the University of Hull.
    • Adam Quarshie is a freelance journalist based in Bristol focusing on arts, culture and social issues. He has written for a number of publications including The Bristol Cable, Crack, Huck, The Quietus and The Wire. He has also worked in digital communications roles for community organisations, trade unions and universities.
      Adam Quarshie
    • Dan Cody is SEO Editor at The Evening Standard. In his role he handles The Standard's organic search strategy, managing a team of writers who focus on trending topics. In addition to his role in online editorial strategy he has written features for The Standard on artificial intelligence and culture. His previous work includes the role of Editor at online culture magazine No Majesty and creating the online storytelling platform Thereafter.
      Dan Cody
      Evening Standard
    • Kiran started as a student journalist at the Oxford Student newspaper, which he edited alongside now lobby colleague Anna Mikhailova in 2006. After graduating, he completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Newspaper Journalism at City University, London, before joining the Financial Times on its graduate trainee scheme. He spent 14 years at the FT, working as its political correspondent, energy correspondent, South Asia correspondent (based in Delhi) and Washington correspondent. During his time at the FT, he covered elections in the US, India, Pakistan and the UK. He has interviewed Imran Khan on the election trail, written about pro-Trump rallies before the 2022 midterms, and spent time travelling the UK for the 2010 and 2015 general elections. He joined the Guardian in 2022 as its political correspondent, based once more in Westminster.
      Kiran Stacey
      The Guardian
    • Ella Alalade is a freelance writer, archivist and playwright. She has written articles and essays for independent magazines such as ‘gal-dem’, ‘Black Ballad’ and many others, concerning art, the Black diaspora, motorsport and music. In theatre, she has worked with local organisations such as the Bristol Old Vic Theatre for community outreach projects and managed to perform her own play, ‘Coldharbour Lane’ in 2018. As an archivist, she has curated collections and developed digital platforms for museums and charities. She also currently works in post-production TV and regularly blogs on film and tv and Formula 1. In 2019, she graduated with a degree in BA  Ancient History at Bristol University.
      Ella Alalade
    • Naomi is an award-winning British-Chilean journalist. She's a commissioning editor at Hyphen and was previously senior editor at gal-dem magazine. As a freelancer, she's covered social justice, communities and the environment for Guardian, Al Jazeera, the Independent, the Telegraph and more. She was listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2020, and is a former IJP fellow and IWMF grantee.  
    • James Dowden is Social Media Executive for Spanish LaLiga side Sevilla FC. In his role he is primarily focused on their English language content including writing reports and previews as well as recording and creating content for our social media accounts at home and away matches across Spain and Europe in various competitions including LaLiga, the Champions League and the Copa Del Rey. He worked in student journalism for his university paper Epigram, where he was co-editor-in-chief during his final year, as well as a contributing writer for the Italian department’s La Civetta magazine.  
      James Dowden
      Sevilla FC
    • Nicholas Robinson is editor of where he is responsible for the brand’s digital strategy, daily website agenda, driving registrations and subscriptions, and ensuring the brand’s future success. He is an experienced digital editor with an extensive background in food and drink journalism, having held senior positions as content director, editor and managing editor at leading food and drink media titles, as well as on luxury lifestyle brands in superyachting and in fmcg PR. While studying Magazine Journalism at the University of Sunderland, he successfully launched and edited Spark Magazine, an online editorial spinoff for award-winning student radio station Spark. 
    • Chris Stevenson is in his second stint as International Editor for The Independent. He started at the title in 2010 as a reporter, before working for The Independent on Sunday in the same role. In 2014 he was made Assistant Foreign Editor across The Independent, The Independent on Sunday and the i newspaper, before taking the job as International Editor for the first time in 2016. Having moved to New York, he ran the US office in New York from 2018 – before returning to the UK to become the editor of Voices. He was then Premium Editor before taking his current role.
      Chris Stevenson
      The Independent
    • Josh Sandiford is a journalist for BBC News in the West Midlands. He was previously a senior reporter at the Birmingham Mail and BirminghamLive. In December 2022 he was shortlisted for Young Journalist of the Year at The Regional Press Awards. In September 2023 he was shortlisted for Young Journalist of the Year (Regional) at The Media Freedom Awards. Josh is passionate about helping students and aspiring journalists wherever he can.
      Josh Sandiford
      BBC News Midlands
    • Henry is an investigations reporter for the Guardian, with a specialism in British politics. He joined in August 2022. He was a freelance journalist for two years, during which he worked as a researcher on two political books and frequently wrote for Private Eye, before joining the Parliamentary press gallery as a politics reporter for Business Insider. He spent four years writing and editing The Lemon Press, a satirical magazine at the University of York, alongside occasionally focussing on an undergraduate degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Film and Literature.
      Henry Dyer
      The Guardian
    • Georgina is a newsletter editor at the Financial Times. Formerly a journalist at the Guardian, she moved to the FT in 2022 to launch the multi-award winning Inside Politics, which she edits and occasionally writes. She works on several other newsletters on finance, European affairs and fashion. During Georgina's English literature degree at Oxford University, she was music editor at the Oxford Student, and contributor to Beautiful Freaks, the Isis and Texture magazine. In 2023 she was the International Journalists' Programme George Weidenfeld fellow and NCTJ's trainee feature writer of the year.
      Georgina Quach
      Financial Times
    • Kirstie is a broadcast journalist and assistant producer at BBC Newsround. Her love of journalism began in the University of Manchester’s student’s union, where she eventually became Editor-in-Chief of The Mancunion. Kirstie has helped cover a variety of things from the war in Ukraine, to Strictly Come Dancing, to a surprising number of stories involving animal poo. She also produced the programme’s coverage of the World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, and is currently working on Newsround’s next documentary special. Previously she’s been a feature writer for BBC Bitesize’s topical team, a volunteer producer and newsreader at Gaydio, and worked on Radio Merseyside’s 2019 election coverage.
      Kirstie O’Mahoney
      BBC Newsround
    • Nina Robinson was awarded Fellowship to The Radio Academy in 2023 in a speech by Sir Lenny Henry who called her a “trailblazer and multi-award winner who uses audio to tell stories to empower”. As CEO of Birmingham based production company, Soundtruism, Nina has helped establish the Podcasting, Seriously Fund to the UK and organised the Birmingham Podcast Festival which champions diverse voices in audio and audio production skills outside London.  As a documentary maker, Nina has travelled the world making award winning programmes (including the prestigious Peabody Award) for the BBC World Service, Radio 4, Radio 1 and 1Xtra. 
      Nina Robinson
    • Rebecca Thomas is the Independent’s Health Correspondent. A health journalist for eight years, she has a particular focus on patient safety. In 2022 Rebecca won the Health and Science Journalism award at the British Media Awards for her “proper revelatory journalism” in her coverage of the worsening A&E crisis in the NHS. She was also shortlisted for journalist of the year at the 2023 Press Awards for a series of stories exposing systemic abuse within a group of children’s mental health hospitals.
      Rebecca Thomas
      The Independent
    • Richard Brooks is the External Communications Director of polling company Savanta, and is a proud trustee of the Student Publication Association. His background is in campaigning and the education sector, where he has worked for a number of national political campaigns. Richard is also a governor of Dover Technical College, his hometown further education institution.   
    • Priyanka Raval - Bristol born and raised - has worked as a journalist in India and Lebanon before returning to her hometown in 2019, to join The Bristol Cable. The Bristol Cable is redefining local journalism through community action and cooperative ownership. Founded in 2014 in Bristol the organisation is powered by members who all have a say and own an equal share in their media co-operative. She specialises in the world of work, race and racism, and social movements. She’s also leading on the Cable's diversifying freelancer scheme, aimed at encouraging underrepresented voices to get involved with journalism.
      Priyanka Raval
      The Bristol Cable
    • Juliet Rix is an award-winning freelance journalist, author and occasional broadcaster.  She writes for the Telegraph, Times, Guardian, Wanderlust, the Mail, Studio International and others. Her main subject areas at the moment are travel, arts, heritage, and health (all including interviews) though she has written on other topics including parenting, science and social issues over the years. Juliet started out at BBC Television before moving to radio as a foreign correspondent.On her return from Southeast Asia, she went fully freelance as a feature writer (largely to fit around her parenthood). She is the editor of Tonic - an independent drink and travel magazine - and the author of two books of adult non-fiction - one health/self-help, one travel (with a third on the way) and two children's books.
      Juliet Rix
    • Meg’s borderline obsession with restaurants makes her perfectly placed to write about all the latest openings and gossip for Bristol24/7 and for her Substack. There’s nothing Meg enjoys more than reviewing new restaurants, and liaising with her readers in her weekly food and drink newsletter.
    • Jem Collins is the founder and director of Journo Resources, an award-winning social enterprise that helps people breaking into and progressing within their journalism careers. She is also a freelance journalist, writing for outlets including the i Paper, PositiveNews, The Big Issue, and others
      Jem Collins
      Journo Resources
    • Nimra Shahid reports on climate change, greenwashing and how money flows into the fossil fuel industry at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.. She was previously an investigator at Global Witness, researching deforestation and finance. Her investigations have appeared in outlets including AP, BBC News, Bloomberg, CNN, FT, the Guardian
      Nimra Shahid
      Bureau of Investigative Journalism
    • Sian Harrison is co-author of McNae's Essential Law for Journalists, affectionately known in the industry as "the bible", and a former journalist now working in PR for the legal sector. She has spent most of her career reporting on courts, especially the Royal Courts of Justice where she covered the highest-profile legal battles, including Johnny Depp's lawsuit against The Sun and the "Wagatha Christie" libel fight between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. She also sits on the NCTJ’s law examinations board. Sian cut her journalistic teeth writing for Hullfire, the newspaper/magazine published by Hull University Union.
      Sian Harrison
      Co-author of McNae's Essential Law for Journalists
    • Deb is an award winning leading print, radio and TV journalist. Medically qualified, she was recently Science Editor of ITV and UK and Health Correspondent for BBC Newsnight. With several major investigations for BBC Panorama, Channel 4 Dispatches, ITV Tonight and BBC’s File on Four, Deb’s work has contributed to major changes in medicine.  She specialises in complex investigations, having established the investigations unit at the BMJ. She was instrumental in investigations of The Tavistock and the treatment of young people with gender dysphoria which has played a role in the changes to the thinking around how young people are treated.  Other work has led to hundreds of millions of pounds of unsafe hip implants being withdrawn and changes to how invasive devices are regulated; questions being asked about the evidence for flu drug Tamiflu that led to changes in clinical trials; and how regulators provide information to patients on fertility treatments - to name just a few.
      Deb Cohen
    • Jess Bacon is a freelance culture and film journalist who has bylines in Dazed, Cosmopolitan, Rolling Stone, GQ, Wonderland, The Guardian and the i. After completing her English degree at the University of York, she was editor of an architecture and design magazine, before she worked on digital entertainment desks for HuffPost UK, Stylist, Radio Times, Digital Spy, Metro, OK! and The Mirror. In between overanalysing her favourite TV shows, films and internet trends, she’s working on her debut non-fiction book.
      Jess Bacon
    • Lauren McGaun is a freelance producer for BBC Newsnight, BBC Politics, BBC News, ITV News and Channel 4 News. Lauren is responsible for guest booking and briefing on high profile interviews. She graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2022 where she was Impact Magazine’s Head of News. 
      Lauren McGuan
    • Dhruva is a writer whose work has appeared in various online and print outlets, including The Guardian, NPR, Dazed & Confused, Mixmag, Crack Magazine, NME, Vice, The Quietus and other notable publications. Previously, Dhruva has also been the editor of The Wild City and EachOther. Dhruva has also written liner notes for a variety of releases, including acclaimed album Disco Jazz by Rupa. He has previously co-edited a book, Haramacy (Unbound, 2022).
      Dhruva Balram
    • Alison is a senior trainer at PA Media Academy. She was previously news editor at PA and has extensive experience in news journalism. She joined the news agency as a general reporter and also worked as a royal reporter before serving as PA’s education correspondent for over 10 years. Prior to joining the news desk, she worked as a High Court reporter, covering major cases including the Johnny Depp libel trial.
      Alison Kershaw
      PA Media Academy
    • Sean Howe is an experienced journalist and editor with specialist knowledge of subjects including policing, crime, defence and security. He began his career in local papers before editing national B2B titles and moving to lead the global editorial operations for Janes, a specialist defence and security publisher. Sean leads the Essential Journalism and Digital Features and Longform courses for PA Media Academy.
      Sean Howe
      PA Media Academy
    • Lucy Dyer is the editorial development director at NCTJ-accredited journalism training school News Associates, with responsibility for securing their trainees – across all postgraduate and undergraduate courses – their pathways into journalism. She heads up their outreach, marketing and admissions team and works closely with the industry. She is a former editor with a passion for social media and emerging digital platforms.
      Lucy Dyer
      News Associates
    • Jungmin has been a reporter at The Caterer, a B2B magazine and digital news publication covering the hospitality industry, since April 2022. She studied English Literature at university and wrote theatre reviews for The Cambridge Student newspaper. After graduating in 2021, she co-edited Ed Fringe Review, a student publication that runs for the duration of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In June 2022, she completed her Masters in Magazine Journalism.
      Jungmin Seo
      The Caterer
    • Rosemary Waugh is a freelance arts critic and journalist specialising in theatre, dance and visual art. She has written for titles including the TLS, New Statesman, Financial Times, the Evening Standard, Time Out, The i, The Stage and Dance Gazette. She is also the author of Running the Room: Conversations with Women Theatre Directors, published in 2023. Her route into journalism started as the Arts Editor of Epigram, the University of Bristol's student paper, where she commenced her career as a theatre critic by seeing a one-man-and-a-violin staging of Moby Dick at the Tobacco Factory (it was good).
    • Mutaz Ahmed is Associate Comment Editor at The Telegraph, helping shape the paper's opinions coverage. He joined on the Editorial Graduate scheme three years ago. Prior to that, he was a political reporter on the ReactionLife website.
      Mutaz Ahmed
      The Telegraph
    • Cathy Duncan is course director of Cardiff University’s NCTJ-accredited News Journalism MA, which is highly regarded in the industry. She spent most of her career at the South Wales Evening Post, ending up as editor. For much of her career she took charge of recruitment, training and mentorship but her background is in reporting and production journalism. Cathy has a long association with the NCTJ and is a winner of its Chairman’s Award for her work in developing nationwide exams.  
      Cathy Duncan
      Cardiff University
    • Ava Santina Evans is political correspondent at PoliticsJOE, a digital-first news publisher aimed at 18-35s.  Based in Westminster, she covers UK politics, trade unions and has been a member of the lobby since 2022. Before this, she was the lead producer of the James O’Brien programme on LBC Radio and a broadcast journalist with the BBC.  She is a regular contributor on the BBC, Sky News, ITV’s Good Morning Britain and TalkTV.
    • Ross is an award-winning freelance travel, food and wine writer. He’s written for wide variety of titles, including the BBC, National Geographic Traveller, The Sunday Times, The Independent, Evening Standard, and Lonely Planet. Travel-wise, he specialises in Spain – particularly the Canary Islands – and Wales, but has travelled the globe from Tasmania to Tokyo, California to Copenhagen and written about many more destinations. Ross has previously been an editor for British Airways and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. He’s currently a lecturer on the MA Magazine Journalism course at Cardiff University.
      Ross Clarke
      Freelance Travel Writer
    • Shafik Meghji is an award-winning journalist, travel writer and author specialising in Latin America and South Asia. After starting his career as the sports editor of the University of Warwick’s student newspaper, he studied newspaper journalism at City University and then worked as a reporter for the Evening Standard, before focusing on travel. The co-author of more than 45 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and DK Eyewitness, Shafik writes for publications such as BBC Travel, National Geographic Traveller and Wanderlust. His debut book, Crossed Off the Map: Travels in Bolivia, was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Book of the Year 2023.
      Shafik Meghji
      Travel Writer and Author
    • Jim served as the station manager of the university radio station, Livewire, at UEA in Norwich. After graduating, he wrote for a number of business magazines while he studied journalism part-time at City University. After a spell working for the business TV channel CNBC as a producer, he joined the BBC and has worked as a producer and then a reporter for the Today Programme, 5Live, Newsbeat, Newsnight and the Victoria Derbyshire programme. In 2020 he was seconded to the BBC’s national health unit to help work on the Covid pandemic and is now a permanent reporter on the health desk.

    • Hannah is newsletter editor at The Spectator, in charge of the magazine’s 12 editorial newsletters – including two daily politics and current affairs briefings. She is also the acting arts production editor, designing and editing the arts pages of the magazine for print each week, as well as working as a sub-editor on the rest of the magazine. She previously worked as a sub-editor at the Daily Mail.

      Hannah Tomes
      The Spectator
    • Josh Barrie is a food and drink writer based in London. He writes for numerous newspapers and magazines, including the Evening Standard, the New European, and i. He occasionally appears on BBC radio to discuss Michelin-starred restaurants or the complexities of tiramisu, and he might also be found on a travel assignment, from Mevagissey to Miami. 

      Josh Barrie
    • Colin Drury spent almost five years as a freelance journalist with his work appearing in The Guardian, The Times, The I, The Daily Mirror, Buzzfeed News, Women’s Own and LadBible. Among his reporting were in-depth pieces about Covid-19 for Vice, a long read on the UK’s first climate refugees for The Independent, and - for The Observer - a 2,000 word feature on why more British men are having penis surgical enlargements.

      Before becoming a freelancer, he worked for the Halifax Evening Courier and the Sheffield Star. He later became North of England Correspondent at The Independent. Today he teaches journalism at the University of Lincoln.

      His first ever published piece was for his student newspaper: a review of a band called Hefner. He still winces when he remembers he compared them to The Beatles.

      Colin Drury
      Freelance & Lecturer
    • Meike is a Data Journalist at the Telegraph. She first joined the Telegraph in November 2022 as an Infographic Designer on the Graphics Journalism team after graduating from City University of London with an M.A. in Data Journalism.  Before that, she worked as a writer (and translator) for a Paris-based news media company called Worldcrunch and did some freelance work for a Computer Weekly investigation project.  While at university, Meike was the Editor-in-Chief of Sciences Po’s online student magazine ‘The Paris Globalist’ and University College Utrecht’s student newspaper ‘The Boomerang’.
    • George is a sports news reporter at the i. He started working full-time in January 2024 after a year freelancing while completing his NCTJ at News Associates Twickenham. He has also been nominated for multiple awards for his work on neurodiversity in sport and covered the 2023 Men’s Ashes and 2024 World Darts Championship, as well as regular Premier League games. George graduated from Durham in 2022, where he was sports editor of Palatinate, a role which spanned a disgruntled football club chairman accusing him of dealing meth and an almost incoherent speech at SPANC22.
    • Joshua Hughes joined The Telegraph as a Newsletter Editor in August 2023. His main responsibility is the twice daily Front Page Newsletter. He graduated from the University of Exeter in 2023 where he read Politics and Sociology and edited the student newspaper, Exeposé. While at Exeposé they won Best Publication and Best Project or Initiative in 2023.
      Joshua Hughes
      The Telegraph
    • Martin is a proud alumnus of Palatinate, the student newspaper at the University of Durham, where he honed his skills as a budding journalist. Subsequently he worked as a reporter for Watford Observer and then as a Senior Reporter for Bristol Evening Post. Over the years he has accumulated an array of bylines for publications such as The Mirror, The Times, Metro and Yorkshire Live. He has been the Editor-In-Chief at Bristol24/7 since its inception some ten years ago. He has also written the unofficial guide to Bristol, 111 Places In Bristol That You Shouldn’t Miss. Martin covers a vast range of topics that has a local interest from Breaking News to Sports and is looking forward to sharing his vast experience in local journalism at #SPANC24. In his leisure time, he enjoys cycling and following the fortunes of Bristol Bears and Watford F.C.
      Martin Booth
      Bristol 24/7
    • Rebecca Carey is the Deputy Head of Editorial SEO at Newsquest. Starting her career in print, Rebecca worked as the Senior Deputy of the University of Dundee’s Magdalen Magazine.  Following her degree in International Relations and European Languages, she studied for her NCTJ diploma during the pandemic and fell in love with Digital Journalism. Since then, she’s accumulated bylines across Newsquest’s network, the Scottish Sun and Historic Environment Scotland whilst also becoming a lecturer at Glasgow Clyde College. From news to entertainment, Rebecca writes and produces TikToks on anything and everything that her audience is asking questions about.
      Rebecca Carey
    • Noa Hoffman is a triple award-winning political correspondent at The Sun, based in Westminster. She joined in June 2022 after a year at PoliticsHome and The House magazine. Noa graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2020 and from her postgraduate journalism degree at Leeds Trinity University in 2021. At university she was Editor of The Tab Edinburgh.
    • Priscilla is a Director in Portland’s Corporate Communications practice, where she specialises in sustainability communications for a range of clients across the FMCG, professional services, infrastructure and NGO sectors. She has more than a decade of experience working in corporate and consumer PR agencies, where she designs and delivers integrated communication campaigns, and advises clients on media relations, strategic communications and issue and crisis management. In recent years, she’s developed a specialism in sustainability communications, where she works with companies to communicate on key environmental and social issues, and to engage at global events such as COP and NYC Climate Week. She also advises a range of climate and NGOs focused on engaging the private-sector on environmental action. Some of her current and past clients include Coca-Cola, KPMG, Mars, Arsenal, Puma, Parfums Christian Dior, UNIQLO, NHS, Sainsbury’s and Santander.
      Priscilla Truong
      Portland Communications
    • Isabella Silvers is a multi-award-winning freelance journalist and has written for titles including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Refinery 29, Stylist and more. She also writes Mixed Messages, a weekly newsletter on mixed identity which has featured voices from Women's Equality Party leader Mandu Reid to Selling Sunset's Amanza Smith. She was named on PPA, Media Week and Media Week's 30 Under 30 lists, a We Are The City Rising Star and was shortlisted at the Investing In Ethnicity and European Diversity Awards.
    • Thomas is a BJTC, APA and British Podcast Award winner, and an Ambie and HearSay Award nominee. Thomas has produced stories for Love + Radio, Criminal, CBC, BBC, Audible, Spotify, Wondery and Blumhouse amongst others, he currently works as Head of Podcasts at Vespucci. Thomas’ recent work includes Exposed: The Ashley Madison Hack (The Guardian: "Revelatory"), Buying Time (New Scientist: “Full of suspense… fascinating”), Operation Morning Light (IDA Nominee, Financial Times: Best Podcasts Of 2022), The Paddlefish Caviar Heist (Ambie Nominee, Esquire: Best Podcasts Of 2022), The Cost Of Happiness (Webby Nominee, Wired: Best Podcasts Of 2023) and Paperless (Guardian: “A remarkable listen, one of the most moving and thought-provoking things I’ve heard in a long time”).
      Thomas Curry
    • Ellie Langford is a Political Reporter for the i paper. She began her journalism career at Nouse during her time at the University of York, before attaining a Masters in Newspaper journalism at City University. Ellie has worked across news and politics for a variety of national titles including PoliticsHome, The Sun and Sunday Times. 
    • Jemima Kelly is a columnist at the Financial Times. She writes a weekly column on a wide range of topics, from crypto to the culture wars, as well as long form pieces on everything from Donald Trump to luxury Arctic cruises to academic freedom in British universities. Before joining the FT, she was a markets reporter for Reuters, and before that, she was an editorial assistant at The Economist, where she got her first articles published. She never did any student journalism — she was too busy with her side hustle of trying (and failing) to be a singer and songwriter. 
      Jemima Kelly
      Financial Times
    • Steph Spyro is the Environment Editor and Senior Political Correspondent at the Daily Express. She covers the climate and biodiversity news in the UK and around the world. Steph won the environmental reporting award at MHP Mischief’s 30 to Watch Awards in 2022. She was also nominated for best online video at the British Journalism Awards for her investigation into whaling in the Faroe Islands. Based in the heart of Westminster, she also champions women’s issues. Steph moved across the world from her hometown of Johannesburg to study Journalism and Media & Communication at Kingston University in London, where she was editor of The River. When she’s not chasing a story, she can be found meandering the paths of her local nature spots or making a splash in the pool.
      Steph Spyro
      Daily Express
    • Emma joined The Times in autumn 2022 as a business reporter graduate trainee. During her time at the paper she has covered a range of stories across the length and breadth of the UK. They include reporting on sewage on Scotland's beaches, the rescue of Britain's loneliest sheep and how businesses in Northern Ireland have benefitted from the 'peace dividend'. Emma previously worked in Dublin at The Irish Examiner as a business reporter. She was a Google News Fellow in 2021 where she interned and freelanced at She first got involved in student journalism while studying at university in Dublin. She is originally from Co Derry.
      Emma Taggart
      The Times
    • Will was a latecomer to journalism completing his NCTJ and masters at Cardiff Uni aged 27 in 2015. He has since worked at WalesOnline (Wales' biggest news provider) starting as a trainee and is now Welsh Affairs Editor. Will made his name for a series of features he did on poverty in Wales as well as highlighting violence against women. He now conducts much of WalesOnline's political and investigative pieces as well as writing the paid-for (imaginatively named) Will Hayward Newsletter.  Will has also written two books and won 14 awards for journalism. He spends his spare time playing a sport called korfball and looking after his pet tortoise.
      Will Hayward
    • Tulip covers a wide range of global health stories – from obesity in Qatar, to snakebites in Kenya and emerging viruses in Saudi Arabia. She led the BBC’s coverage of the world’s largest Ebola outbreak from West Afric. Tulip has a special interest in women’s health and has most recently investigated the impact of climate change on maternal health in India. She joined the BBC as a local news trainee, and went on to work for Radio1Xtra as a reporter and later became the main presenter on Radio 1 Newsbeat, where she reported extensively from Afghanistan and then Pakistan. She has worked as a reporter/presenter on other programmes including Panorama, Newsnight and Newround.
    • Joshua Mbu is a sports reporter for The Mirror and The Express with a particular focus on US sports. Previously, he was a sports reporter for The Sun, where he started as a freelancer while completing his Journalism degree at London South Bank University. While at University, Joshua worked on London South Bank's news website as well as their YouTube and radio broadcasts.
      Joshua Mbu
      The Mirror and The Express
    • James is Director of Healthcare Communications at consultancy firm Hanover. Prior to this James was Deputy Director of Communications for NHS England and also served as Head of Media for the NHS throughout the Covid pandemic. James ran the NHS England press office, handling crisis communications, delivering proactive campaigns including for the Covid vaccination programme and managing the daily Number 10 press conferences. Before this James was Head of Campaigns for national charity Citizens Advice and worked in Westminster after graduating from the University of Sheffield with a BA in Politics and MA in Political Communication.

      James Mole
    • Luke Jacobs is currently a digital editor at The Guardian, part of the team managing the website's UK, international and Europe editions. Previous to this he was chief sub-editor at Sky News, and a senior regional editor at Reach, having launched KentLive and devised the company's editorial diversity strategy at its London and the south east region. He was reporter and sports editor of the Route 66 student magazine at Brunel University before becoming a local news journalist in Surrey, London and Essex.
      Luke Jacobs
      The Guardian
    • Ava Santina Evans is political correspondent at PoliticsJOE, a digital-first news publisher aimed at 18-35s. Based in Westminster, she covers UK politics, trade unions and has been a member of the lobby since 2022. Before this, she was the lead producer of the James O’Brien programme on LBC Radio and a broadcast journalist with the BBC. She is a regular contributor on the BBC, Sky News, ITV’s Good Morning Britain and TalkTV.
    • Jamel is a journalist apprentice at PA Media covering stories around London and the UK. In this role Jamel has written exclusives on the war in Ukraine, the Turkish/Syrian earthquake, war in Gaza and the death of Sinead O’Connor. Jamel is particularly interested in covering human stories and social issues from major news headlines, and unique original stories for PA’s uplifting feed. In 2023, he was shortlisted for an award for News Journalism at the NCTJ Awards of Excellence. Jamel started his career by writing a blog about issues affecting the black British community. He then worked as an intern at TechRadar and also freelanced for Reach PLC.
      Jamel Smith
      PA Media
    • Emily Murray is Entertainment Editor at GamesRadar+, working alongside Total Film and SFX magazine. She is also a resident film critic at BBC 5Live and has been published in the likes of Yahoo to Digital Spy. Encouraged by her dad to write about movies, Emily started out with her own blog as a teenager, then going on to write for several student websites whilst studying including Leeds University's The Gryphon, Salford University's Quay News, and Kettle Magazine. You could also see her chatting about all things culture on student TV and radio channels - if there was an opportunity, she took it. This led to some work experience at UNILAD where she was then hired as a journalist - and from there she hasn't stopped.

      Emily Murray
    • Jack is a senior reporter covering local stories for The Bolton News in Greater Manchester. 

      He was the editor of HUB Magazine at UWE Bristol and went on to complete an internship at Bristol24/7, before gaining his NCTJ qualification in Manchester, where he became a Meta Community Reporter at The Oldham Times.

      Jack has bylines in The Guardian, the Manchester Mill, and the Mirror, among others. His favourite stories to cover involve active travel, LGBT+ issues, and the environment. He also loves to make a TikTok for his stories.

      In his spare time, Jack enjoys cycling on canals and in the Peak District, as well as Tweeting every inane thought that comes into his head.

      Jack has been shortlisted for two NCTJ Awards for Excellence for his coverage, in Data Journalism and Community Journalism.

      Jack Fifield
      The Bolton News
    • Lateefah Jean-Baptiste is a freelance journalist and PR professional from London. She has more than five years of experience in writing articles, features and opinion pieces for national and international magazines and newspapers. Her work can be seen in STYLIST, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, POPSUGAR, Metro UK, The Independent, Business Insider and many more.
    • Max Kendix joined The Times as a trainee news reporter in September 2022, and completed his part-time NCTJ Diploma with News Associates in Twickenham in August 2023. He has written for the news, business, world, obituaries and Scotland sections at The Times. He graduated from Durham University in 2022, where he read philosophy, politics and economics and edited the student newspaper, Palatinate.
      Max Kendix
      The Times
    • Lucy Dunn is The Spectator’s diary reporter, working in the magazine’s politics team. She has covered Scottish politics extensively over the last year, including the SNP leadership race, the Rutherglen by-election and party conferences as well as gossip in and around Holyrood and Westminster. She is also a qualified doctor and frequently writes on junior doctors’ working conditions in the NHS. Lucy is a firm advocate of student journalism and edited Glasgow University’s student paper The Glasgow Guardian in her final year.
      Lucy Dunn
      The Spectator
    • Ed Campbell is a journalist who makes YouTube videos and mini-documentaries for PoliticsJOE. His work focuses on the politics away from Westminster and has seen him report on everything from XL bully protests to an award ceremony for British porn stars, achieving millions of views in the process. He also co-hosts the PoliticsJOE Podcast.
      Ed Campbell
    • George Greenwood is investigations reporter at The Times. He specialises in the use of freedom of information requests and open data, and regularly covers lobbying, financial crime, relations between authoritarian states like Russia and China with the UK, and state failure. George started his career at BBC News, moving to The Times in 2018 as a data journalist and joining the Times investigations team in 2021. He wrote for Cherwell at Oxford and The Beaver whilst at The London School of Economics. 
    • Megan Wallace (they/them) is the Editorial Director of GAY TIMES, focussing on the UK and Europe and overseeing the Editorial and Social teams. They have formerly held editor positions at ITV’s Woo, Cosmopolitan UK and Rankin/HUNGER and have been an Associate Lecturer at London College of Communication since 2020. An award-winning journalist, they have written for outlets such as The Guardian, We Present, British Vogue, Elle UK, CNN, Crack, Vice, Stylist, Time Out and The Face and have interviewed the likes of Julia Fox, Emma Mackey, Harry Kane, Joy Crookes and Bree Runway. As a creative strategist, content writer and copywriter, they have worked with brands such as Feeld, Durex, New Balance, Badoo, EllaOne, Royal London and VMO2. They are signed with AM Heath, where they are working on an autofiction project exploring queer identity.
      Megan Wallace
    • Vicky is a freelance journalist, writer and editor. She previously worked for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) where she reported on health inequalities, disability, housing and precarious work. She began her career in local and regional news in Birmingham before landing a position at the Daily Gazette in Essex. After a secondment with the BBC’s Shared Data Unit, she returned to Newsquest where she co-led its first data investigations unit. You can also read Vicky’s online work at Black Ballad, gal-dem, Melan magazine and Business Insider, and find her somewhere teaching workshops or mentoring.
    • Megan Harwood-Baynes is a journalist at Sky News, currently on secondment with the data and forensics team, working on digital investigations. Before this, she specialised in social affairs, health, and the cost of living crisis. Her time at Sky News has included covering a number of high profile court cases, including Wagatha Christie, and being one of the few reporters inside Courtroom 7 at the trial of serial-killer Lucy Letby. She trained in local news on the Isle of Wight and also worked on the social team at the Press Association.
    • In 1992 Lyn and her late husband were bored on a flight to South America and so schemed out their ideal travel magazine on the back of a sickbag. The idea stuck and, in 1993, they launched Wanderlust magazine from their bedroom. Today, it is the number one travel magazine in the UK Lyn is still with the business as Founding Editor, has won multiple awards for her travel writing and is author of Wanderlust How to Travel Solo. Lyn's travels usually involve wildlife, wilderness and wine. She strongly believes in tourism as a force for good, benefiting local communities and the natural world.
      Lyn Hughes

    #SPANC24: The weekend ahead

    Save the timetable to your phone, check out our workshops and full delegate brochure and start planning your conference weekend! We can't wait to see you.

    Our full #SPANC24 brochure is now available to view online - just click the image to the left. You can also see our full timetable of panels below and save the image to your phone.

    Plus, don't forget we've got hands-on tips and training across the conference with our workshops. If you've already signed up to our bookable sessions then you'll have all the info you need in your inbox, but there's no need to sign-up to our Breaking News workshop with our headline sponsors News Associates. You'll find it at 11:45am in the Stephenson Room, with all you need to equip you for delivering fast, accurate coverage of breaking news. Find out more and save it in your calendar here.


    Where will #SPANC24 be held?
    All our events this year will be held at Bristol SU (Richmond Building, 105 Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1LN), keeping everyone together in one easy-to-navigate site.
    Is the site accessible?
    Yes! We’re working closely with Bristol SU to make sure this is the case both for the day time events and our awards. We will also ensure there is a quiet room for anyone who needs to use it. Please flag any specific requirements or questions to us as you book your ticket so we can make sure everyone can enjoy #SPANC24.
    When should I get there?
    Arrive any time from 3pm on Friday, goodbyes on Sunday afternoon.
    Where will I be staying?
    If you buy an accommodated ticket, you’ll be staying in a twin room in either the Premier Inn Bristol City Centre (Haymarket) or the Premier Inn Bristol City Centre (Lewins Mead). You’ll be sharing a twin room with one other person, and we’ll always try and ensure that person is someone from the same publication as you. If you’ve already found someone to share with, both attendees must indicate this when booking their ticket. If you book a conference and events only ticket it is up to you where you stay and you are responsible for finding your own accommodation.
    What food do I get?
    Your ticket gets you dinner on Friday night, breakfast (accommodated tickets only) and lunch on Saturday and Sunday, plus your three-course meal at the awards on Saturday night.
    Do you offer any help with costs?
    We know how stretched student budgets are, which is why we offer tickets at a subsidised price thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. If cost is a barrier to you being able to attend our event and you are from a group underrepresented in journalism please keep an eye out for our Financial Assistance Scheme, with more details due on our social media and website shortly.
    Will my university or SU help cover costs?
    Maybe, and we strongly recommend it because going to SPANC is an investment in the future of your paper. We’ve previously lobbied for this on behalf of our members and we’re more than happy to write to your university or SU to tell them why they should help fund your tickets. Email for more information.
    Do you offer refunds?
    Please be mindful before you buy a ticket that we cannot offer refunds unless in exceptional circumstances. The SPA sells all tickets at cost and has to order meals, tickets and hotel rooms in advance, based on ticket sales.
    Does SPANC have an age limit?
    Yes, although the SPA grants membership to under 18s, only those aged over 18 are permitted to attend our physical events, including SPANC.
    Can I watch the awards online?
    We’ll be gutted if you can’t make it but yes, our awards will be live-streamed.
    What if I have more questions?
    Email or
    How do I get to Bristol?
    Bristol is one of the most easily accessible cities in the UK, with excellent rail, bus and coach, road, and air links.

    If you're getting the train, Bristol Temple Meads railway station runs direct services from London, Scotland, Wales, Manchester and Birmingham.

    Bristol Parkway is located to the north of the city. Services run from Birmingham, Cardiff, Gloucester and London.

    A number of national and regional coach services run to Bristol from across the country including Megabus, National Express and Falcon.

    Bristol is ideally situated for road access from London as well as from the north and east of England and South Wales, it being situated at the intersection of the M4 and M5 motorways. Parking is not included with any of our accommodation options but is available for an extra charge if arranged directly with the hotel.

    Bristol operates a Clean Air Zone. Most vehicles will not be charged, but it is your responsibility to check and pay any charges.

    If you're coming from further afield, flights to Bristol Airport are available from Aberdeen, Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, and Newcastle.

    With kind thanks to our headline sponsor...


    National Awards

    It’s been another bumper year for the Student Publication Association (SPA) national awards, attracting more than 1,200 entries - a record for the SPA once again (and more than some of the best-known awards in the industry!).

    Our shortlists have now been revealed, with student publications, writers, designers and photographers all set to be celebrated at our glitzy #SPANC24 awards night. If you can't make it to our conference and awards weekend in Bristol, the awards will also be live-streamed on 13th April so keep an eye out on our socials for all the info you need.

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter, our judges have faced a really tough task picking our national award winners. Previous winners have gone on to score excellent jobs across the industry and beyond, including at The Times, Sky News, the Press Association, and the BBC. We can't wait to see what the future holds for all those who entered their work for 2024.

    Any questions? Email

    Past winners

    Excited for what's ahead? Take a look at who has won in our last 11 years.