97 journalists pass senior reporter test

Some 97 journalists taking their NCTJ National Certificate Examination in March made the grade to become senior reporters, a pass rate of 52 per cent.

In the news report section of the exam candidates’ shorthand and news writing ability was tested by asking them to report on a speech given by a fictional union official Chris Turner following an airline industrial dispute.

The senior examiner for this section said in their exam report: “The news report featured one of the most topical stories on the current news agenda, so there was no excuse for candidates who did not understand the scenario.

“It was disappointing to examiners to find that a number of candidates had little knowledge of industrial affairs and produced stories saying UK Airways staff were ‘going on strike’ or would be ‘walking out’ on 29 March. This was not what the union said its members would be doing – they would be working to rule, which is something completely different, and claiming overtime which was owed to them.

“However, it was not all doom and gloom in the news report section. There were some very impressive comprehensive reports which were a delight to mark.”

The news interview section centred on a family who were speaking out after the inquest of 19-year-old Dawn Brannigan who had died of a heroin overdose on New Year’s Eve.

Candidates were asked to interview the cousin of Dawn’s mother to discover details of Dawn’s death which were not revealed at the inquest and to uncover a story about an anti-drugs campaign planned by the family.

The senior examiner for this section said: “The family were keen to show that Dawn was not ‘a sad, lonely drug addict’ but ‘a party girl who dabbled in drugs’. Candidates needed to include this line in their story but the best angle focused on what the family was going to do in getting across an anti-drugs message.”

“As usual, examiners were looking for candidates who had taken more than a superficial interest in the story and written an engaging article with a strong intro using dynamic verbs and adjectives, an early key quote followed by a well-organised story that included a mix of accurate quotes and reported speech.

“Inappropriate or ineffective use of quotes – no matter how well-selected – went unrewarded, or even penalised. However, candidates who used quotes to add pace and rhythm to their stories received extra marks.”

NCE award winners

Four journalists taking the March NCE exams were awarded for their outstanding performance with £250 prizes from the NCTJ.

Robert Garret of the Eastern Daily Press won the prize for the news interview section of the exam. He said: “I remember leaving the NCE with an impending sense of gloom because I thought I had left some details out, so I’m surprised.”

The Esso award for outstanding news reporting was won by Timothy Sculthorpe of the Scunthorpe Telegraph.

The moderator said: “His report had a strong introduction, good pace and an entertaining style which clearly conveyed the story to the reader”.

The Ted Bottomley award for outstanding newspaper practice paper was won by Adam Cornell of the Maldon & Burnham Standard.

Cornell said: “I sat a law degree before I decided to become a journalist, so I have always been interested in the law and its application. But I had to learn how to answer legal questions as a journalist, using and needing the law on a daily basis, rather than in-depth as a lawyer.”

The Newsquest award for outstanding logbook was won by Matt Meade of the Dunfermline Press.

Meade said: “Working at the Dunfermline Press has given me a wide range of stories to cover, from court to sport and I’m very grateful for that.”

List of journalists who passed the NCE for reporters on Friday 5 March – 97 Candidates:

Name Newspaper

Katie Adams Wiltshire Times

Rachel Allen Wiltshire Times

Chinwe Akomah Congleton Chronicle

Inderdeep Bains Slough Observer

Alexandra Barham St Albans & Harpenden Review

Jennifer Bell The Press, York

Laura Blyth Express & Star, Wolverhampton

Elizabeth Broughton News and Star, Cumbria

Cadisha Brown Kidderminster Shuttle and Times

Adam Burling Kidderminster Shuttle and Times

Paul Cahalan Wandsworth Guardian

Hana Callard Monmouthshire Free Press

Lisa Campbell Keighley News

Joanne Charlton Croydon Advertiser

Paul Christian East Herts Herald

Rachel Clare Stroud News and Journal

Jennifer Coombes Ilford Recorder

Alexa Copeland Bridlington Free Press

Adam Cornell Maldon & Burnham Standard

Andrew Coulson Morpeth Herald

Marijke Cox KOS Media

Lucy Cramer Thurrock Gazette

Natalie Crockett South Wales Argus

Charlotte Cross Express & Star, Wolverhampton

Laura Crothers Scarborough Evening News

Daniel Darlington Maidenhead Advertiser

David Deans South Wales Argus

Faye Dickson South Wales Argus

Anna Dowdeswell The Bucks Herald

Adam Drummond Berwick Advertiser

Frances Duckett-Pike The News, Portsmouth

Andrew Edgeworth Grimsby Telegraph

Sonia Elks Clacton Gazette

Sarah Elliott Express & Echo, Exeter

Suzanne Elvey East Kent Gazette

Lauren Everitt Bracknell News

Simon Faulkner Grimsby Telegraph

Leanne Fender Freelance

Amy Fenton North West Evening Mail

James Fisher Bridgnorth Journal

Robert Garratt Norwich Evening News

Thomas Gibbon Banbury Guardian

Claire Hack Epping & Ongar Guardian

Laura Hammond Belper News

Claire Hardy Newbury Weekly News

David Hemming Bridgwater Mercury

Elizabeth Henzell Sidmouth Herald

Charlotte Hester Shrewsbury Chronicle

Sarah Hickinbotham Evesham Journal

Trudi Hodges Clevedon Mercury

Sarah Holt Lincolnshire Echo

Esther Hutcheson Linlithgowshire Journal & Gazette

Scott Inglis East Fife Mail

Rebecca Inman Northants Evening Telegraph

Caroline Jones Derby Telegraph

Megan Jorsh News and Star, Cumbria

Jonathan Jurejko Doncaster Free Press

Daniel Keel News Shopper

Joanna Kilvington Richmond & Twickenham Times

Stacey Lewis Wiltshire Gazette & Herald

Molly Lynch North West Evening Mail

Richard Marsden Northants Evening Telegraph

Hannah Marsh West Sussex County Times

Guy Martin Surrey Advertiser

Jonathan Mattos Hull Daily Mail

Ian Matuszczyk Cheddar Valley Gazette

Matt Meade Dunfermline Press

Delia Monk Nottingham Evening Post

Edward Moore The Herald, Plymouth

Christopher Morris Macclesfield Express

Sara Morton Driffield Times

Karen Moss Barking & Dagenham Post

Martin Naylor Derby Telegraph

Alistair Nelson Saffron Walden Reporter

Ruth Offord Doncaster Free Press

Catherine Phillips Redditch Standard

David Pickthall North West Evening Mail

Christopher Richards Welwyn & Hatfield Times

Ben Robinson Lancashire Evening Post

Mark Round Express & Star, Wolverhampton

Timothy Sculthorpe Scunthorpe Telegraph

Petra Silfverskiold News Guardian, Whitley Bay

John Sommers Aldershot News

Susan Stephenson Scarborough Evening News

Christiana Symmons Telford Journal

Charlotte Talbot Woking News & Mail

Ben Thompson Wimbledon Guardian

Joanna Till Surrey Advertiser

Jacqueline Turley Isle of Man Newspapers

Victoria Turton Wakefield Express

Kirsty Whalley Croydon Guardian

Oliver John Williams Leamington Spa Courier

Amanda Williams Oxford Mail

Richard Williams Courier Newspapers

James Willoughby Northumberland Gazette

Aamina Zafar Slough Observer

Yamurai Zendera Dover Express

List of journalists who passed the NCE for sports reporters on Friday 5 March – 2 Candidates

Nicholas Banks Express & Echo, Exeter

Andrew Sloan Bristol Evening Post

List of journalists who passed the NCE for sub-editors on Friday 5 March – 1 Candidate

Sarah Stead Reading Chronicle

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