The South West College Blog, Way out West, picked up the award in the blog category at the 2017 Digital Communication Awards, which took place in Berlin on Friday 29th September. The blog, which was launched in January 2016 and offers ‘a new voice from within South West College’, saw off competition from companies such as IKEA and IBM to win the prestigious award in a competition which aims to ‘honour outstanding projects, campaigns and innovations in the field of online communications.’
The final stages of the judging process, and the competition awards ceremony, took place in Berlin on the 29th of September, when Andrew Maguire and Aidan Kelly, from South West College, travelled to give a live presentation to a jury of judges that included renowned international bloggers, and esteemed figures in digital communication industries. Following the live presentations, the Awards ceremony took place at the AXICA conference centre, located beside Berlins famous Brandenburg Gate. Way out West, by South West College was announced as the winner in the blog category, with winners in the other categories including University of Cambridge, UNICEF, HSBC, Vodafone and Adobe.
Speaking of the success, Andrew Maguire said: ‘It was a complete shock when they announced that we’d won. We had really enjoyed the experience and felt we delivered our presentation well, but to win ahead of huge companies like IKEA and IBM was a bonus we really didn’t expect. The whole event was fantastic to be a part of, and we’ll take a lot of pride in the award.’
The Digital Communication Awards are hosted by the Quadriga University of Applied Sciences, an international graduate school for Communication Management and Public Affairs located in Berlin, Germany. The application process for the awards comprised of an online application, and the live pitch, with judging based on criteria such as strategy, innovation and creativity, implementation and results, and efficiency.
Speaking about giving a live pitch to the judges, Aidan Kelly said: ‘There’s always a few nerves before giving a presentation, especially when it’s for an award like this, but we’d put the preparation in beforehand, and when we got in there the judges were very relaxed and welcoming which helped us settle in. We were happy with how it went, and it’s fantastic that they were impressed enough to choose Way out West over such tough competition.’
In 2016, Way out West was launched as a new voice from within South West College. Since then, through an array of blogs, articles and interviews, it has aimed to showcase every angle of student life in and beyond South West College. It aims to offer insight and advice into the latest student trends as well as shining a light on the future of education, employment and life in Northern Ireland, highlighting how students can prepare to impact and effect it both now and in the years to come. The blog has featured articles on topics such as student relationships with politics, young people’s relationships with gambling, the millennial generation, and anxiety. It has also given information and advice on student issues, and produced original interviews and profiles with figures such as Radio One DJ, Phil Taggart, Paralympic Gold Medallist, Michael McKillop, and UTV personalities, Paul Clark and Ken Reid. Way out West has featured in local newspapers and on the Irish Times Online.
The Digital Communication Awards aim to ‘provide innovative online projects with the visibility and reputation they deserve’. For Way out West, at South West College, success in the awards is an acknowledgement of progress made so far, and welcome encouragement and experience for the future.
You can read Way out West at blog.swc.ac.uk