Freelance writer and EUPRIO contributor Nic Mitchell has won the prestigious Award for Outstanding Higher Education Journalism from the UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Education & Skills Group.
The award sponsored by IFS University College was announced at the annual CIPR Education Journalism Awards 2015 in London on 12 November.
Nic was up against full-time national journalists and won the prize for a feature for the BBC online Knowledge Economy series titled ‘Can Lithuania turn brain drain into brain gain’.
This told the story of increasing migration trends from East to West Europe from the viewpoint of a country losing so many of their brightest young people and the impact this is having on Lithuanian universities and its own knowledge economy.
Nic is a freelance journalist and communications consultant specialising in European and international higher education and set-up De la Cour Communications in 2012 with the aim of supporting cross-border student mobility.
He wrote a background feature ‘Spotlight on Lithuania’ for the EUPRIO website in December 2013 and has closely followed events in the country since helping Vilnius University organise its first annual conference in a post-Soviet country in 2006.
Nic said: “I’m absolutely thrilled in winning this award, not least because I was battling cancer at the time.
“I wrote and researched the feature article in between radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment and waiting for my bowel cancer operation.
“It was a shame I couldn’t be there in person to collect the prize, but I’m still under chemo to zap any last remnants of the cancer and was advised against being in crowded places as my immune system is down at the moment.”
Christine Legrand, President of EUPRIO, was among the many congratulating Nic on his award, saying: “I’m proud to have Nic as a contributor to our website, where his blogs and reports help our insight into what is happening to higher education around Europe and beyond.
“It is invaluable, in French ‘précieux’, to have somebody like Nic Mitchell who follows, understands and writes on higher education like he does.”
Simon Butt-Bethlendy, Chair of the CIPR Education & Skills Group, said: “The quality of entries this year was, I think, higher than ever before – and we had a record number – so I was delighted the judges recognised the excellence of Nic’s piece.”