NQJ exam prize winners include journalists from News Shopper, Cambridge News, Oxford Mail and Hemel Hempstead Gazette

Clockwise from top left: Hannah Mirsky, Michael Race, Jessica Bell and Rebecca Choules

Exam award-winners hailed as “compelling” and “impressive” as record numbers passed the latest round of senior journalism exams.

Reporters on regional titles won £250 each as they took top scores in each of the four exam disciplines on the way to passing their National Qualification in Journalism.

The winners were Jessica Bell (News Shopper) for media law and practice, Hannah Mirsky (Cambridge News) for news report, Rebecca Choules (Hemel Hempstead Gazette) for news interview and Michael Race (Oxford Mail) for the e-logbook.

Bell, who graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2014, said: “I’m delighted to have won the Ted Bottomley award, and considering I wasn’t even sure if I’d passed the exams, it came as a big surprise.”

The senior examiner for this section said: “Jessica provided excellent answers, including full marks for question two in which she displayed not only good knowledge but also how to apply it to the scenarios thrown up by the questions.

“Added to which, there were suitable case studies that helped to cement the knowledge. The questions were answered in a logical way and the writing was crisp.”

Hannah Mirsky, who completed her fast-track diploma course at Press Association Training in London said: “Thank you to the NCTJ for giving me the Esso news report award.

“I’m thrilled to have done so well in the exam, and very relieved that I’ve passed them all and am now a senior.”

The senior examiner said: “Hannah’s story was an excellent résumé of the speech and brief, written in a lively and easy-to-read style which engaged the reader from the outset.

“Her shorthand was impeccable, allowing her to use the best quotes in full.

“Her part B was the best seen by the markers since this section was introduced and Hannah was particularly impressive in the way she tackled the follow-up ideas, covering a wide range of ideas which comprehensively took the story forward with reader interaction.”

Choules, who graduated from Brighton Journalist Works in 2012, said: “I was absolutely over the moon to learn I had passed my NQJ exams, because I was so sure I’d have to re-sit.

“It was even more of a shock to be told my news interview paper had been chosen for the Society of Editors’ award. It was the icing on the cake.

“The three-day refresher course was invaluable in the lead up to the exam, and I would like to thank my trainers John Wilson and Sarah Lucas for their help, support and advice.

“I would also like to thank my content editor Ben Raza for his guidance and mentorship. The media law pop quizzes paid off!”

The senior examiner said: “Rebecca showed she has a good nose for hard news. She captured the drama of the story, but did not forsake the details. Her phrasing was excellent.

“She captured the reader’s attention immediately with a strong intro and backed it up with a compelling read from start to finish.”

Race, who completed his NCTJ diploma at Press Association Training in Newcastle, said: “I’m overwhelmed to win the Newsquest award for best logbook

“I wouldn’t have been able to have supplied the stories without the great support, help and guidance from my colleagues and mentors at the Oxford Mail.”

The senior examiner said: “A superb logbook and one worthy of being our award winner.

“Across a wide variety of key tasks Michael demonstrated a crisp and clear style. This resulted in an engaging read and showed an attention to detail which was extremely pleasing.

“The high marks for this logbook were richly deserved and much of the work which it contains would prove of great benefit as an example to those planning a similar submission in the near future.”

Picture: Clockwise from top left is Hannah Mirsky, Michael Race, Jessica Bell and Rebecca Choules

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