A Telegraph shift, a tough choice and two very worthy winners

After five
weeks and four assignments, the toughest decision of the competition
had to be made: picking two winners from our final four Press Cadets.

Their
final task was a Sunday shift at The Daily Telegraph under the eye of
managing editor Sue Ryan, who was editing that day. She had asked them
to come in with three ideas for the page 3 lead, one of which they
would complete.

Sue was impressed with what they produced. Zoe
had given the task a lot of thought. All three of her ideas were suited
both to the Telegraph and had a page 3 feel. She had worked out that
it’s hard to get hold of people on a Sunday and had made her calls in
advance.

Will realised that Monday’s page 3 story is often
picture-led and brought in Halloween images to tie in with his pitch
about the growth in Britain’s celebration of the festival. “He was
sharp and fast on his feet,” said Sue. Some of his copy ended up on
page 3.

Although Lou’s ideas had the Telegraph audience in mind, Sue felt his approach lacked a full understanding of the readership.

“He
was addressing the countryside issue as though it was completely new,
which for our readers it obviously is not,” she said. But his copy was
tightly written.

Rachel’s piece, about the early onset of
spring-like weather, was “slightly naive” for Telegraph readers, but
Sue thought her “enthusiasm was engaging and she wrote it up well”.

All
of which meant I had an extremely tough decision. Sue felt that Zoe and
Will had been the pick of the four on the day. But in reaching my
decision, I had to take into account the cadets’ performance over all
four of the assignments.

Lou
had been particularly impressive in the assignments set by NME and Take
a Break – coming top or joint top, according to those editors. Will had
started more slowly, and stumbled a little with the Gin Lane
assignment, but had improved in the final two tasks.

Zoe
had ranked consistently highly after the first task, in which Alex
Needham had criticised her “pretension”, and had performed particularly
strongly in the final two. Rachel’s enthusiastic, professional approach
had won high marks from everyone.

After much agonising, I decided
that Zoe and Lou should be our winners: they will start as Press
Gazette staff on a 12- month contract in the next few weeks.

In
the meantime I’d like to thank all 10 of our cadets for their immense
efforts; I’m sure any one of them would have been an asset to us. The
last words go to the gallant two who got so close.

Rachel:
“Entering the competition is the best thing I’ve ever done. I am
overjoyed I made it to the final. It’s been an utterly valuable
experience and I’ve learnt so much. I’m disappointed I didn’t get the
job, but huge congratulations to Zoe and Lou – they deserve it. I’ve
had a few job offers since I appeared in Press Gazette, which just
wouldn’t have happened without the Press Cadet scheme, and I’m hoping
to accept a position and move to London – my dream – by the end of the
year.”

Will: “I’m very disappointed not to have won, but it has
been an extremely beneficial experience. I feel that I was let down by
my Gin Lane piece, which I knew was weak at the time, and from that
point on I was fighting an uphill battle. I was enthused by the
feedback I received following the Five News and Daily Telegraph tasks,
and I’m glad I performed towards the end of the competition. I was
contending against three strong competitors, and I cannot begrudge the
two talented winners.”

The intros they filed for the Telegraph:
Rachel Williams: Britain is delighting in a crazy display of glorious
weather this autumn that has seen flowers blossoming six months ahead
of schedule. Usually a picture of colour when the weather warms up
around March or April, a delicate apple tree in Wiltshire has sprung
into bloom already… Gardener Yvonne Rowe talked about the surprising
find at her West home. “At first I thought it was a pretty butterfly.

When I took a closer look it turned out to be blossom…”

Will
Payne: UK residents will have spent an estimated £120m on of toys,
costumes, and decorations by the time tonight’s Halloween celebrations
get under way. The festival has become a huge commercial event in
recent times, and the past seven days have been the second busiest
shopping week of this year. Spending at Halloween is only surpassed by
that of Christmas and Easter. Police have set up crimereduction teams
to deal with overexuberant revellers… Lou Thomas: Huge swathes of land
in the West and East of England are to be opened to all today as the
last part of the Countryside Rights of Way Act (CRoW) comes into force.

Nearly
50,000 hectares of land will be opened, pushing the total amount of
available land under the act up to 750,000 hectares. Although ramblers
may be pleased by the prospect of walking on unexplored terrain, the
act has been criticised by the Country Land and Business Association…
Zoe Smith: Singer Pete Doherty has revealed that he is ready for rehab
following an ultimatum from his girlfriend Kate Moss. “Kate called me
and she was trying to persuade me to check into rehab,” he said. “I’m
ready for rehab – I would have to be pretty dumb not to realise that I
am ready for it.”

However, whether Doherty will choose to be
admitted is yet to be seen. The implant that was preventing him from
taking drugs became infected and ‘popped’ out of his stomach…

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