A University of Northampton graduate’s career credentials have been given a massive boost after he scooped the top award at a journalism industry event.

Kirk Asiedu’s success at the Broadcast Journalism Training Council Awards means he is now in-demand with a raft of media organisations – and he’s already picked up work off the back of the event.

He collected the Steve Harris Award, which recognises the stand-out entry of the competition, for his radio documentary on dementia. The piece was described by the judges as “an outstanding example of how radio can pull at all emotions. Joy, honesty and anger, all contained within a few minutes.”

Chief judge, Richard Frediani, executive editor of BBC Breakfast, also paid tribute to the strength of Kirk’s documentary.

He said: “The report from Kirk was compelling, personal and powerful from the opening moment. With so many different ways to tell a story it is still the power of the spoken word that can cut through.

“He produced a riveting radio documentary which combined his own experience after a relative was diagnosed with dementia in Ghana with a collection of voices that helped to explain why it is such a cruel disease. Bags of emotion combined with some real honesty made it a must listen and a worthy winner.”

Kirk also won Best Radio Documentary at the awards, which highlights the finest examples of student journalism in the UK.

He said: “Being in the running for one award was enough for me, especially as I found out I was the first Northampton student to receive a nomination, so I was making history already.

“But to then get the very top award, was just sensational – the awards were like having two extra cherries on top of a cake.”

Kirk added: “The awards have already opened up a lot of doors for me, I’ve spoken to so many people from industry, and already secured a freelance job with Associated Press, so I’m thrilled.”

Kirk’s documentary – which you can listen to here – shines a spotlight on human rights abuses carried out on people with dementia in Ghana, including victims being accused of witchcraft, assaulted and burned alive.

In the documentary, which he made in the final year of his Multimedia Journalism degree, Kirk compares the advanced level of support and care those with dementia in the UK, with the dearth of support provided in his homeland of Ghana.

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Kirk’s auntie, who brought him up from when he was a toddler until he was four years old, has dementia, and thanks to family in England, is provided with a level of support. Her situation could be much worse, as Kirk found out during the making of the documentary.  

He said: “To know that the story, which is so deeply personal to me, spoke to so many people makes me feel very honoured and very happy.”

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