AddThis SmartLayers

Reporter achieves highest NCE grade for five years

A weekly reporter has achieved the highest mark in the senior journalist exams since the new structure was introduced five years ago.

Vicky Carr, of the Harrogate Advertiser and Wetherby News, scored 305 marks – the highest recorded since the logbook element was born in 2004.

The National Certification Examination contains four sections – news interview, news report, newspaper practice and logbook – and this time took 95 reporters from being trainees to seniors.

  • Click through to read the main news story and see the list of successful trainees.
  • Read here what the examiners said about the candidates.
  • Vicky’s work for the exams was considered so good by markers that she was also shortlisted for three of the four awards handed out to the best four candidates in each of the three annual NCEs.

    She won the Ted Bottomley Award for the newspaper practice exam, sponsored by the Midland News Association, which asks candidates to answer a law question and write follow-up ideas for stories.

    Vicky, who studied at Sheffield College, said: “I’m absolutely delighted. I’m really pleased with the result because it was so hard on the day.

    “I honestly had no idea I had done so well. As I walked out of the exam centre I didn’t think it had been a disaster, but I had no idea whether I had passed or not.

    “The Advertiser sent me on legal refresher courses, which were very useful, but without interviewing people and using shorthand for the past two years I would never have passed.”

  • The Society of Editors’ award for the news interview went to Andrew Brookes, from the Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian.
  • The test centred around an unprovoked attack on a pensioner in her own home and the aim was for candidates to conduct a face-to-face interview and elicit enough information to write a vigorous and well-balanced story.

    The chief examiner said: “What a cracking story! It’s pacy, dramatic, balanced, well structured and, of course, accurate.”

  • The winner of the Esso Award for the news report was Lucy Tatchell, of the Worcester News.
  • Information about the development of a derelict canal basin as a centre for tourism and leisure was given to candidates in a press conference setting.

    The chief examiner said: “A sound summary of the salient points from the speech and the brief.

    “Lucy presented it in a logical and easy-to-read structure that was enhanced by a selection of good accurate quotes and historical background.”

  • The Newsquest Award for best logbook was secured by Caroline Abbott, from Exeter daily the Express and Echo.
  • The logbook is the place for candidates to show a range of cuttings and supporting documentation to track the training process from the start of their careers.

    The chief examiner said: “The winning logbook showed both solid writing on a number of key tasks but also excellent presentation.

    “Stand-out tasks included family events, calls and human interest while the major incidents treated high profile stories with a thorough and factual approach.”

  • All four winners will receive £250 from the relevant sponsor.
  • Comments

    Adam (14/08/2009 14:58:46)
    Well done Andrew! Your interview technique will now come under intense scrutiny in the newsroom! From all of us at the Spalding Guardian

    John (14/08/2009 16:32:23)
    Knew you could do it! Well done Andy from everyone in the journalism department at De Montfort University. Keep on checking and double checking!!

    Alan (17/08/2009 17:58:25)
    Bravo to Caroline, who richly deserves this award for all the work she has put in on several titles (not just the Echo). Hope there’s a pay rise to match!

    Jan (18/08/2009 14:29:31)
    Glad to see you’re making great news as well as reporting it, Vicky! Well done and all the best from journalism staff at Norton College, Sheffield.