Student Exclusive Syndicated
Second year Sean McPolin landed an exclusive about a transgender college pupil who won an apology from her headteacher after she was sent home in a dress code row.
Kent Online used the scoop before it was republished by The Sun, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Mail Online and Metro.
Multimedia Journalism student Sean, 20, from Maidstone, said: “It was amazing to see how quickly it was used by those massive publishers."
"I was really pleased when Kent Online used it, so for it to go on Buzzfeed and Huffington post was brilliant."
“I’m obviously grateful to Lily for speaking to me and letting me do the story.”
Lily Madigan, formerly Liam, came out as transgender in January.
St Simon Stock Catholic School, Maidstone, sent the 18-year-old, from Chatham, home when she wore female clothes to classes. Later the school refused to refer to her as Lily – by then her legal name – or use the women’s toilets. But St Simon headteacher Brendan Wall apologised to Lily after she threatened the school with legal action under the 2010 Discrimination Act.
Sean’s course leader Jonny Greatrex praised the student’s dedication. Senior Lecturer in Journalism Jonny Greatrex, said: “Sean did really well handling a sensitive story professionally."
“He first spoke to Lily in the summer but she was reluctant to have any media attention."
“But Sean maintained contact with Lily and when the story developed further she was happy to proceed."
“Sean sets a great example for his fellow students. His success shows it doesn’t matter where a story comes from, if it is strong enough, it is good enough for any media outlet.”