Did they have some news for us?

Ambition, flair and good writing were all rewarded at the third National Student Journalism Awards, says Lucy Hodges
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The Independent Online

The music blared, the spotlight chased around the hall and the audience gasped as Durham University's Palatinate was named winner of the best student newspaper award on Saturday night. These were the third annual National Student Journalism Awards, organised jointly by The Independent and the National Union of Students. And the Great Hall at King's College London was packed with excitable student writers, photographers and website designers who had descended on the capital from all over the country.

Palatinate was commended for its clean layout, newsy front page and properly researched articles. It covered issues of concern to students, such as poor performance by student union officials and the closure of the Russian department.

According to Donald Macintyre, The Independent's political commentator, who handed out the trophies: "The best student papers give a real sense of the issues that are exercising students on campus, whether they be vice-chancellors' pay or rent increases. They are well written, have a bit of ambition and are presented with flair."

Impact, Nottingham University's magazine, won the award for best student magazine, and Leeds Student carried off the trophy for best student campaign. According to the judges, Impact was beautifully designed and gave a real feeling for the topics of the day. But it went further than that, covering local issues that were beyond the confines of the campus but of importance to students. Leeds Student conducted an impressive campaign into ethical investment by the university, which showed a willingness to dig deep rather than just write rhetoric.

The winners and runners-up in 12 categories were chosen from 369 entries by judges including distinguished figures from the world of newspapers and magazines.

On the panel were Jan Thompson, managing editor of The Independent; Peter Wilby, editor of the New Statesman; Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, an Independent columnist; Johnny Davis, editor of The Face; Owain James, the president of the NUS; Andrew Collins, a TV broadcaster; and Christian Wolmar, an expert writer on transport issues.

"The high standard of journalism made picking winners a challenging task for the judges," said Mr James, who hosted the ceremony. "The winners displayed a level of professionalism that belies the resources and time constraints that many of them work under."

For the first time there was a Diversity award, concentrating this year on mental health. The idea was to try to break down stereotypes about mental health. The judges commended the winner for doing just that – revealing the facts about self-harm and talking to victims of the illness.

The winners will be sent prizes, and given the chance of work experience at The Independent's offices.

The full list of winners is:

Best student newspaper: Palatinate (Durham). Runner-up: Concrete (UEA).

Best student magazine: Impact (Nottingham). Runner-up: Pulse (Sussex).

Best small-budget publication: YorkVision. Runner-up: Brig (Stirling).

Best student media website, sponsored by nusonline: www.durham21.co.uk (Durham). Runner-up: http://tsw.org.uk (UEA)

Best student reporter, sponsored by STA Travel: Steve Bloomfield, Liverpool Student. Runner-up: Alice Tarleton, Steel Press (Sheffield)

Best student campaign, sponsored by Unison: Leeds Student. Runner-up: Gair Rhydd (Cardiff).

Best student photographer: Tom Catchesides, Varsity (Cambridge); Runner-up: Nell Freeman, Isis (Oxford).

Best student feature writer, sponsored by Basildon Bond: Olav Bjortomt, Platform (Nottingham Trent). Runner-up: Tom Hill, Cherwell (Oxford).

Best student sports journalist: Andrew Dickson, Pluto (Central Lancs). Runner-up: Tom Hill, Cherwell.

Best student arts journalist: Marion Schnelle, Leeds Student; Runner-up: Amy Franks, Impact (Nottingham).

Best student publication design, sponsored by Endsleigh Insurance: Westworld (University of the West of England). Runner-up: Impact (Nottingham).

Diversity award, sponsored by the Department of Health's mind out for mental health: Sally McGuire, Student Direct (Manchester); Runner-up: Kirsti Reeve, Impact (Nottingham).