New award for high-achieving journalism students in memory of a champion of journalists’ rights

The Bob Norris Award for Achievement recognises students who may not necessarily be the top performers in their year group, but who have achieved notable performance during their time at their place of study

Bob Norris and Dominic Blake

Three high-achieving journalism students from the south coast will win a new award this summer in memory of a champion of journalists’ rights.

The awards scheme has been launched by the Solent branch of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in tribute to their cherished late colleague and former chairman, Bob Norris.

The trophy will go to one student in each of the three main institutions providing journalism training in the Solent region: Portsmouth University, Solent University and Highbury College, all of whom welcome Isle of Wight students.

Achieved notable performance
The Bob Norris Award for Achievement recognises students who may not necessarily be the top performers in their year group, but who have achieved notable performance during their time at their place of study.

Bob using a favourite manual typewriter in his early days
Bob using a favourite manual typewriter in his early days

This could be someone who has made exceptional progress or achieved well despite some form of difficulty, or who has contributed significantly towards the year group through support meetings/activities and so on. This approach was chosen as it reflects Bob’s own values in the field of journalism training. 

Encouraging the highest standards
Bob’s widow, Pauline Norris, a former journalist and Chair of the Solent NUJ of Earnley, Chichester, said:

“Bob encouraged hundreds of students across the UK to achieve the highest standards to the best of their ability.

“I am certain he would have been so very pleased and proud to be linked to this NUJ Solent Branch Achievement Award.”

Promoting journalistic diversity
In a career that stretched from his early years on the Hampshire Chronicle to working tirelessly as Assistant General Secretary of the NUJ, Bob encouraged hundreds of students throughout the UK to achieve the highest standards to the best of their ability.

He had a special passion for education and training and was firm in his belief that education was key to the promotion of journalistic diversity.

In Bob's heyday behind a mic at NUJ Delegate Meeting
In Bob’s heyday behind a mic at NUJ Delegate Meeting

Bob served as a director on the Board of the National Council for the Training of Journalists for almost thirty years and was its Chairman from 1995-97. His involvement in training was often ‘hands-on’; he lectured on ethics in journalism.

Held in high esteem
Through this involvement he developed an incredible network of contacts across the media industry and was held in high esteem, even by those who did not share his staunch commitment to the NUJ and trade unionism.

He was a relentless campaigner for media freedom and was proud of his part in achieving the UK Copyright Act of 1988.

A man passionate for social justice all his life, Bob died in October 2018.

The inaugural Bob Norris Award for Achievement will be awarded to students in this current year group before the summer.


Image: Bob at his last NUJ Delegate Meeting as a NUJ Solent Branch delegate with Dominic Blake, BBC Radio Solent.

Thursday, 28th May, 2020 8:25am

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Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story, Youth

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