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Yippee! – I've passed!

How important are those crucial NCTJ exams? Here, in an article that first appeared in the Torquay Herald Express, 17-year-old trainee reporter Chrstine Fullam writes about her first year in journalism.

Absolutely brilliant – that’s how I felt when I found out that I had passed the National Council for the Training of Journalists handout paper.

I was even more thrilled to find out that I was the youngest person to ever pass an NCTJ exam.

I took the exam after a year of studying journalism at Coombeshead College, Newton Abbot – what I now call my launch pad into the media world.

Since starting the course last September my journalistic career has really taken off. I can now officially call myself a journalist as I am getting paid for my work at the Herald Express.

It feels great to finally live the dream I have had since I was eight years old.

Over the past year I have experienced a great deal including going to London to the Houses of Parliament, The Daily Mail and most recently a week of work experience at the New Musical Express.

It was amazing at the NME sitting in on the editorial meeting on the 25th floor, overlooking the city and seeing how the paper is constructed.

I also got to meet some of my favourite music journalists and got tips from them, I’m still in contact with one of them.

I’ve written articles about politics, life at Coombeshead, the inspiring Herald Express columnist Lincoln Shaw, babies of the year, expedition-goers, marathon runners, local gigs and I’ve even got to interview some of my favourite bands, as well as former number one band 5ive for

In July I helped Our Lady and St Patrick’s Primary School, Teignmouth, co-ordinate and edit their school magazine with my friend and fellow journalism student Emma Crome. I’ve learnt how rewarding this job can be, especially with help from people prepared to share there time, skills and knowledge with me.

I would describe journalism as a career where you learn best from hands-on experience and I definitely couldn’t have got this far without the support and enthusiasm from everyone at college, home and the Herald Express.

I think my favourite thing is the line I use when my mobile rings, because most of the time, in the words of punk bands The Clash, it’s “London Calling!”