A group of trainee journalists have been told they will have to resit the law section of the NQJ exam – after their papers were lost as a result of a computer glitch.
Reporters were left in tears after the incident which took place as around 15 would-be seniors were sitting the National Qualification in Journalism exam at Harlow College last week.
HTFP understands that the candidates had come to the end of the exam when they were asked to save their papers to desktop and log out and then log back in again in order to activate spellchecker software.
However when they logged back in, they found their work had disappeared.
Some candidates who had saved their paper to documents rather than to desktop managed to retrieve them, but the rest were lost.
Candidates were told by the National Council for the Training of Journalists invigilator overseeing the exam that they would have to retake the exam if the papers could not be found.
One candidate who asked not to be named told HTFP: “I was gutted. I had taken time off to prepare for the exam and I thought it had gone well.
“We were told that if they can’t retrieve the papers we would have to retake it with a different paper.”
Another who also asked to remain anonymous said: “We are still waiting, four days after our law exam to see if we have to resit the papers.
“We have received repeated emails from the NCTJ blaming the fault on ‘IT issues’. This was not the case.
“We were given the wrong instructions by the invigilator with no one thinking to check that the spell check worked (on a journalism exam!) or that the saving process which we were instructed to carry out was also correct.
“We have all now been left in limbo as we await what they have to say and whether we all have to get back to revision. ”
The media law and practice exam is one of four sections of the NQJ that trainees have to pass in order to become senior reporters.
An NCTJ spokesman said: “This matter is being investigated.”