Imperial College London

Student wins competition to write for The Times flagship political blog


The competition entry graphic, featuring Matt Chorley dressed as major UK political figures

The competition invited students to look beyond Brexit

Biomedical sciences student Joanna Wormald has won a competition to write for the Red Box blog through the summer.

The undergraduate competed against 30 fellow Imperial students for a chance to be a guest writer for a three-month stint on The Times’ award-winning political newsletter – edited by political commentator Matt Chorley.

The competition, exclusively for Imperial students, is the latest element of Imperial’s partnership with The Times.

“I couldn’t stop smiling”

Joanna Wormald
Joanna Wormald

A keen writer and freelance journalist, Joanna has served as deputy editor throughout the year on Imperial’s student newspaper Felix, and most recently profiled the top 25 individuals in the space sector for the Westminster Index.

The Red Box competition, which ran throughout June, challenged students to write a 500 word article on a political issue being overlooked due to Brexit.

Joanna’s winning submission explored a law they would like to pass. They suggested cabinet ministers should have specific training in their area of responsibility before taking office. The submission not only secured Joanna’s role as guest contributor to Red Box, but comprises their first blog for the platform, published this week,

“After the initial shock wore off, I couldn't stop smiling,” said Joanna, describing the moment they received the call from Matt Chorley. “I've been a Red Box subscriber for years so having the chance to write for it is incredible. It's also pretty cool to be able to say I'm a writer for The Times just three years after starting out as a journalist.”

Joanna said their remaining two blogs would be shaped by their experiences as being disabled, queer and non-binary: “I'd like to bring those perspectives to people who would not otherwise consider them.”

Looking to their career path ahead, Joanna is keen to bring together their passion for journalism with their degree.

They said: “Coming from a science background is incredibly helpful, especially for data journalism, which is really coming into its own at the moment. I wrote my dissertation on the processes that underlie the production of health news and also looked at how that information could be used to improve the relationship between journalists and health professionals, so I gained a lot of useful insights from that.”

The Times partnership

The inaugural year of The Times partnership programme with Imperial has comprised a series of panel events and Q&As for students with top journalists, scientists and political figures aiming to stimulate debate, provoke curiosity and explore the future of science, technology and culture.

In addition, students and staff have received free online subscriptions to The Times. The news organisation has also selected five student ambassadors to help drive, promote and encourage participation in the programme of activity throughout the year.

Speaking of the partnership and also Joanna’s selection, Matt Chorley said: “The partnership with Imperial has already been great, including journalists going to the university so it made sense for students to go in the opposite direction. We were inundated with entries, but Joanna's entry stood out for being smart and insightful with a nice turn of phrase."

Imperial students and staff interested in a free subscription to The Times can sign up on the registration page


Andrew Youngson

Andrew Youngson
Communications and Public Affairs


Students, Student-experience
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