And the winners are...

There were more than 500 entries for this year's National Student Journalism awards. Ben Russell introduces the victors
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The Independent Online
The cries of excitement and satisfaction said it all. Cheers filled the great hall at King's College in the heart of London's West End as the victors were announced at the climax of the first National Student Journalism Awards, organised by The Independent and the National Union of Students (NUS).

The cream of Britain's university and college reporters, feature writers, photographers and editors were on hand to see the broadcaster and Independent columnist David Aaronovitch reveal the results at the climax of the largest- ever competition held for the student press.

Ed Alcock, who has just finished work on a maths PhD at Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, had good reason to be satisfied as he picked up his trophy in the best student photographer category. His picture of a boxer between rounds was picked up by two national magazines after it was shortlisted in The Independent earlier this year.

"I never thought I was going to win," said Alcock. "I'm not going to stick with maths."

The contingent from Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan universities danced in the aisles as Leeds Student was named best student paper 1999.

"We are all delighted that we have been recognised as the best student paper in the country," said Alex Gubbay, who edited the paper last year and now works for the BBC. "It's a reward for all the people who spent lots of hours working on the paper."

Andrew Murray-Smith, the editor of The Saint, the newspaper for students at St Andrews, picked up the award for the best small-budget newspaper. The third-year English student's tabloid is produced from one room with just four computers.

"It's great The Independent has recognised us," he said. "We have no money, but we have a talented bunch of people who give up their nights to write for the paper."

The NUS national president, Andrew Pakes, who presented the awards, said: "It has been the most interesting and exciting awards ceremony we have run for many years.

"There were lots of surprises and the awards recognised the full spectrum of student journalism."

More than 500 entries vied for the top awards and students from about 30 publications made it to the shortlists in 11 categories.

Oxford's Cherwell was runner-up for best newspaper award and Sussex won the best magazine category for its publication Pulse.

St Andrews was a double winner with The Saint's John Hopkins winning the best reporter category for his hard-hitting interview with a woman raped during a foreign exchange.

Tim Nash from Gair Rhydd (Cardiff University) won the best campaign award, by entering the paper's fight for changes to the university summer exam timetable.

Student journalism is booming. There are now more than 250 college newspapers and magazines around the country, with a combined circulation of hundreds of thousands.

Thousands of students turn their hand to writing, photography and production - making student journalism second only to sport in its popularity on campus.

The panel of experts included Simon Kelner, editor of The Independent; Peter Wilby, editor of the New Statesman, and David Aaronovitch, who is also a former NUS president.

The panel also included Andrew Pakes and former student editors. Its brief was to look for publications, pictures and stories relevant to students today.

National Student Journalism Awards

The results:

Best student newspaper: Leeds Student (Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan universities). Runner-up: Cherwell (Oxford University).

Best student magazine: The Pulse (Sussex). Runner-up: The Word (Oxford).

Best small budget publication: The Saint (St Andrews). Runner-up: The Pulse (Sussex).

Best student website: Sheffield Electronic Press (Sheffield University).

Best student reporter: John Hopkins (The Saint, St Andrews). Runner-up: Anja Beachmann (Scratch, South Bank University).

Best student campaign: Tim Nash (Gair Rhydd, Cardiff University). Runner- up: James Jordan (The Courier, Newcastle University).

Best student photographer: Ed Alcock (London Student/ Cub, Queen Mary and Westfield College). Runner-up: David Cross (Pulp, Manchester Metropolitan University).

Best student feature writer: Tim Dewhurst (Westworld, University of the West of England). Runner-up: James McCarthy (Leeds Student, Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan universities).

Best student sports journalist: Daniel Rookwood (Varsity, Cambridge University). Runner-up: Roy Delaney, (Westworld, University of the West of England).

Best student arts journalist: Jonathan Stubbs (Warwick Boar, Warwick University). Runner-up: Tim Robey (Cherwell, Oxford).

Best student designer: Joanna Roach (Scratch, South Bank University). Runners-up: Simon Griffin and Dean Langley (Shout, Liverpool John Moores University).