News & Updates

Inside DBS wins 'Blog of the Year' at the 2021 National Student Media Awards

by Adam Crowther | Jun 04, 2021

Editor Clare O’Beara tells the story.



Last September I started editing Inside DBS, which was established by Lea Lair the previous year for the Journalism Society (JSoc). I was the only Journalism student left, so I decided to open up the blog to the whole college and let anyone who wished, get a published article on their CV.

My aims were:

·        Feature as many students and events as possible

·        Produce a professional looking blog.


To begin, I had to go around asking for material and taking photos. Blogs take time to build momentum. Many students were keeping in touch via social media, where it’s easy to make a quick post and that post is soon forgotten. A blog post is there to last. Students would find a link easier to share than a print magazine. This is perfect for anyone looking to build a CV. I also decided to share some of my experience, in articles about how to create quality content for the web. Feedback says that this has been helpful.

Inside DBS covered Diwali celebrations, the play All by Myself produced over Zoom, Christmas, Chinese New Year, St. Patrick’s Day, Sustainability Week, and a Fire Safety Awareness contest, plus a talk by DBS graduate and sports journalist Thomas Lyster. Excellent contributions came in from students.  


I got really lucky when, having published some copy by Loreto Magaña about her experience of living in Ireland compared to Chile, I saw her at the next Zoom meeting of JSoc. I asked if she would take on the post of Social Media Officer, and she agreed. Loreto got contributions from students in her language classes, and I edited them. Within a short time she was sending me material that was nearly drop-in ready.

We produced a series about different languages, and each student featured was contributing about her or his experience of DBS and Ireland compared to their own country. Every post was so interesting and friendly to read. I had specified the kind of photos to send. When each post was released, Loreto would then publicise it for us on Instagram. I would watch the stats of dozens of views coming in from their home countries daily as the writers sent a link home. Shortly after, I began seeing these individuals posting on LinkedIn with a link to their first officially published articles. So, Loreto, Viri, Lea, Gessica, Katie, Yasin, Goutham, have all been contributors to an award-winning blog.  I can’t tell you how pleased this makes me.


For the end of the 2020 college year, my predecessor had run a college-wide Create Contest, and I had intended to run that again. But contests were not getting many entries this year, and it was likely that with the final month of pressure, students would not have time. I decided to focus on the National Student Media Awards (SMedias) instead. The whole year’s worth of blog would be considered, and Loreto managed to bring in excellent material from the Campus Consulting Dublin Society. I was still getting that published at the time of making the entries to the contest.  


What would I have done differently? I didn’t know at the start of the year about the SMedias. If I had, I would have run contests for articles on road safety and European affairs, as well as the contest about fire safety. This would have given students articles ready for those SMedia categories. In a previous year I just saw a poster on the college wall inviting us to send in a film to the SMedias, so I didn’t know they had journalism categories. I only checked it out this year because I had made a short documentary. Once I did know, I informed Student Services, entered several categories and encouraged others to enter.


Most content has to be published on a student website, magazine or newspaper, apart from photography. The editor has to be a full-time student.  Sports photography was called off – I submitted photos of skateboarding, but apparently lockdown wasn’t conducive to the usual exciting entries. I paid for the entry fees personally. Even entering contests is excellent experience, and can be added to a CV. I reached a few shortlists including articles on the environment, but the best possible outcome was winning with the blog, because Inside DBS is for the whole college. The judge was journalist Pete the Vet, Pete Wedderburn. (We were also shortlisted for a popular vote award.) On the night, (watch on YouTube) the tension was enormous and the win amazing; we were up against all the major universities and colleges. I’m still receiving congratulations.


Thank you, everyone who helped us get to the top. Inside DBS is officially Ireland’s Blog Of The Year. During this year I also started a blog for the Sustainability Society, and next year I would love to see the two blogs, with new editors, going head to head in the SMedias. Give them your support.