The NCTJ's chief examiner has described the latest round of results in the seniors exam as 'disappointing'- and bemoaned the lack of accuracy among candidates.
Figures released today show that only 42 per cent of the total entry of 100 candidates were successful, with the pass rate for first-time candidates just 38 per cent. The pass rate last year was 48 per cent.
Chief examiner Steve Nelson said it was 'apparent that a lack of accuracy was a key factor in the outcome".
In the NCTJ's examiner report he said: 'It may well be that some trainees are not receiving enough guidance in the office because of reduced headcounts in editorial, but this does not account for the sort of inaccuracies that some markers came across.
''Carelessness costs marks' and 'poor shorthand was evident in all but a handful of papers' were just two of the comments from examiners that went some way to explaining the low pass rate.
'I was very concerned at errors over place names and a speaker's name, and a description of someone 'wearing a baseball bat'.
He added that several entries came close to achieving a pass 'but key errors in accuracy ruled them out".
Hannah Upton, of the Westmorland Gazette, won two awards for her outstanding performance in the exams - the Esso Award for her news report and the Newsquest Award for her logbook.
She said: 'I am absolutely gobsmacked to win these two awards. I moved from East Lancashire Newspapers with Johnston Press to Kendal with Newsquest a couple of months before sitting the NCE and would have been delighted just to pass. I was helped a lot by my former and present trainers and colleagues, especially everyone involved with the Newsquest Refresher in York.
'I'm sure hearing the calm voice of my former shorthand tutor Pat Brand at the University of Central Lancashire helped me through the News Report exam.'
Benjamin Woods, from the Eastern Daily Press, won the Ted Bottomley Award for his newspaper practice exam, and Thomas Jennings, from the Oxford Mail, won the Society of Editors' Award for his news interview exam.
The following candidates have now gained the National Certificate Examination for Reporters:
- Jennifer Baker, Cambridge News
- Alexander Britton, Nottingham Evening Post
- Jamie Brooks, Chard & Ilminster News
- Laura Mary Elvin, Leicester Mercury
- Andrew Fitchett, Bury Free Press
- Katy Forrester, Hull Daily Mail
- Ellen Frampton, Biggleswade Chronicle
- Edward Gent, Courier Media Group
- Alasdair Gill, Evening Telegraph (Dundee)
- Nicholas Robert Gill, The Comet
- Amanda Hall, Maidenhead Advertiser
- Alice Hemmings, Courier Media Group
- Nicola Hine, Maidenhead Advertiser
- Ellie Hunter, Derbyshire Times
- Daniel Jaines, Boston Standard
- Ryan Jennings, Colchester Evening Gazette
- Thomas Edward Jennings, Oxford Mail
- Gareth Jones, North West Evening Mail
- Melissa Simone Jones, South Wales Argus
- Stephanie Jones-Berry, Surrey Advertiser
- Helen Kreft, Burton Daily Mail
- Emma Lidiard, Westmorland Gazette
- Daniel Longhorn, Hull Daily Mail
- Chris Madden, Courier Media Group
- Joseph Masi, Shropshire Star
- Emma Louise Matthews, Nottingham Evening Post
- Lauren May, Epsom Guardian
- Ellie Newton-Syms, Hull Daily Mail
- Hayley O'Keeffe, Bedfordshire Times & Citizen
- Robert James Owen, Penarth Times
- Rhianne Lucy Pope, Oxford Mail
- Lee-Ann Richards, Romford Recorder
- Laura Routledge, Reading Chronicle
- Kirsty Ann Smyth, Berwickshire News
- Robert Smyth, Burton Daily Mail
- Georga Spottiswood, Sunderland Echo
- Amy Taylor, Surrey Advertiser
- Hannah Upton, Westmorland Gazette
- Neil Gareth Vowles, The Argus (Brighton)
- Tom Wilson, Cambrian News
- Alexandra Winter, Gazette & Herald (Wiltshire)
- Benjamin Woods, Eastern Daily Press (Norwich)