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November NCE: Sports reporters achieve success

Two trainee sports reporters have achieved senior status after passing the third National Certificate Examination of its kind to be held.

Lee Jones from the Grimsby Telegraph and Stephen Pickthall from the West Sussex County Times are the latest candidates to have passed the NCE for sports reporters.

They were the only candidates to sit the exam, giving a pass rate of 100pc, after they had success in all four parts – the Sports Interview, Sports Report, Newspaper Practice for sports reporters and Sports Logbook.

The qualification was designed by the National Council for the Training of Journalists because of the growing trend of trainee reporters joining sports desks and the first sitting of the exam was held earlier this year.

For the Sport Interview, the candidates had to interview a local man who had achieved a bronze medal in discus throwing at the Commonwealth Games in India and produce accurate and well-written copy.

The Sports Report paper centred on a fictitious press conference from England Rugby coach, Martin Johnson, following a match defeat and the banning of an All Blacks player for 12 matches.

Candidates were asked to report the speech accurately and write a balanced report, using additional material which included a press release and Twitter feed.

Examiners said these papers were “very well-presented, flowing pieces of copy with strong, detailed quotes.”

For the Newspaper Practice exam, candidates had to answer one media law question and two follow-up questions.

The law questions offered a range of scenarios including accusations of drug taking by world champions from a former gymnast, the implications of obtaining an x-ray of an injured football player and the use of photographs of real footballers for a fantasy game.

Further questions centred on a campaign for a new Olympic-sized swimming pool, overcoming the banning of the local paper by a football club and dealing with the coverage of minority sports in limited space.

The chief examiner said there were “some well-thought-out answers for the law question and clear strategies laid out in the practice questions, built on previous experience.”

For the Logbook, the candidates had to complete 18 sections demonstrating they have covered a wide range of sports desk duties, with the chief examiner praising both for their high quality.