Former Hastings Observer journalist Robert Alderson was named reporter of the year at yesterday’s NCTJ Awards for Excellence in Journalism.
Alderson joined the Hastings Observer as a trainee reporter after completing the NCTJ course at Cardiff University, and passed the NCE earlier this year with the highest marks in the country. He is now working as the online editor for arts and culture website It’s Nice That.
Alderson was among 11 award winners announced yesterday including the the winner of the student news journalism award Scarlett Wrench, who studied at Brighton Journalist Works and now works as a junior sub-editor at Men’s Health.
Lead judge Alan Geere, editorial director at Northcliffe Media South East and a director of the NCTJ, commented: ‘Scarlett shows a great mix of the old and the new, using the latest story-finding techniques – trawling social media sites – as well as one of the most tried and trusted practices of going through the obituaries in the paper.’
Rachel Butler, a trainee journalist at the Derby Telegraph, came top in the trainee news journalism category.
Geere said: ‘The harrowing tale of a family caught up in a tragic accident was brilliantly developed from a line in the death notices to become a story that national media were forced to follow
‘Sensitive interviews plus well-sourced pictures made it one of the stories of the year.’
Tim Groves, who recently completed the NCTJ-accredited course at Kingston University, won the student sports journalism award, and Rob Setchell, who currently works for Archant weekly titles The Cambs Times and The Wisbech Standard, scooped the trainee sports journalism award.
The student features award went to Jessica Baldwin for her ‘fantastic ideas’and ‘laugh-out-loud writing style”, and Kate Proctor, who currently works for the Westmorland Gazette, won the trainee features award.
Proctor was the only reporter to be shortlisted in two categories – news reporter and features of the year.
The top scoop/exclusive winners were selected by Jeanette Oldham, an investigative journalist at the Sunday Mercury and winner of Britain’s scoop of the year at the Regional Press Awards 2010.
She chose student Larisa Brown, who is now on the Daily Mail graduate training scheme having completed the NCTJ course at Press Association Newcastle, and Andrew Dickens, a trainee on the Cambridge News.
Rosie Taylor, who recently completed an NCTJ-accredited course at the University of Sheffield, won this year’s student journalist of the year award.
She is currently a trainee reporter at the Daily Mail, working at the Manchester Evening News as part of her training.
Matthew Harrison was awarded the NCTJ photographer of the year.
The awards were announced by NCTJ chairman Kim Fletcher and presented by Fran Unsworth, head of newsgathering at BBC News, at the Society of Editors’ conference in Egham.