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Sophia Ankel wins the 2018 Guardian Foundation’s Hugo Young award

Sophia Ankel a journalism masters student from Goldsmiths, University of London, has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Hugo Young award at a ceremony in London.

Sophia Ankel wins the 2018 Guardian Foundation’s Hugo Young award

Ankel’s winning piece ‘What I learned when naked pictures of me leaked online’ details the distressing revelations of her experience as a victim of revenge porn and its harrowing after effects. Describing how she felt, in her piece Sophia writes “I finally pressed “send” and, with that, lost all ownership and dignity of something deeply private and personal to me – my own body”. Sophie’s piece has been published in The Guardian’s opinion section.

The award, run by The Guardian Foundation, is now in their second year and was created in memory of the late Hugo Young, a political columnist at The Guardian for almost 20 years and one of the most influential figures in British political journalism. Championing the best political opinion writing among postgraduate journalism students across the UK, the award celebrates Hugo’s legacy by encouraging fresh voices and new perspectives which, now more than ever, are essential to the future of quality, independent political journalism, says The Guardian.

The award was presented to the winner and nominees commended by The Guardian’s editor-in-chief Katharine Viner and joint political editor and lead judge Anushka Asthana.

The celebration was hosted by The Guardian’s editor-at-large Gary Younge, with the keynote speech given by Guardian columnist and author Polly Toynbee.

Other shortlisted nominees were:

* Laura Trussell from University of Kent : ‘The Conservatives shouldn't underestimate the power of the youth vote if they want to win in 2022’

* Katherine Cowles from City University: ‘The abortion pill is safe to use at home – it’s time UK lawmakers caught up with modern medicine’

* Eloise Millard from University of Sheffield: ‘If cuts to maintenance grants don't stop working-class students reaching the top universities, the class war will’

Entries for the award were judged by a panel of senior Guardian journalists and Guardian Foundation trustees against a criteria of finding the most topical, thoughtful and well-researched entries.

Sophia Ankel, winner, Goldsmiths, University of London, said:

“I didn’t want to enter this piece but I knew I had a story to tell. I did it because it’s important to provide a voice to women that are victims of revenge porn and now other people can read my story. I’m honoured and proud to win the Hugo Young award, revenge porn happens a lot and it needs to be talked about”

Anushka Asthana, joint political editor, Guardian News & Media said:

“Sophia’s piece was the unanimous winner for the judges because it successfully combined a powerful and personal story, alongside a persuasive argument. In the year of #metoo and #timesup she offered the fresh perspective that online harassment should be taken just as seriously as incidents offline”

Ben Hicks, executive director, The Guardian Foundation, said:

“Increasing diversity in newsrooms and encouraging fresh new voices in the media has never been more important. This award and the Scott Trust Bursary Scheme are a constant reminder of just how much excellent young talent there is out there and demonstrates how newsrooms must be proactive in seeking out new perspectives and opinions.”

Last year’s Hugo Young award winner Daniel Lavelle, who wrote a touching piece about his experiences being homeless titled ‘I was vulnerable and wanted a home. What I got was a workhouse’. Daniel has since gone on to a career in journalism, writing on mental health, homelessness and social care, with his work published in The Guardian, New Statesman and the Londonist to name a few.

The awards ceremony was also a celebration of the The Scott Trust Bursary Scheme, which each year enables a number of promising journalists from diverse social and/or ethnic backgrounds to study at postgraduate level. On the evening, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, an alumna of The Scott Trust Bursary and now deputy editor at gal-dem, a vibrant online magazine written by women of colour and current Scott Trust Bursary student Poppy Noor, a freelance journalist and contributor to The Guardian discussed their journeys in journalism.

Links / further reading: Sophia Ankel’s winning piece