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Quartet of top NCE performers are recognised

Four newly-qualified senior reporters have been recognised for their exceptional performance in the most recent National Certificate Examination last month.

As usual, awards were handed out for the most impressive paper in the news report, news interview and newspaper practice exams, as well as a prize for the best logbook.

Taking the Ted Bottomley Award for the newspaper practice exam was Jasmin McDermott from the Southend Evening Echo for what judges called her ‘excellent all-round approach.’

Jasmin, who completed her prelims at Harlow College, said: “I am amazed that I have won this award, I can’t believe I got the highest newspaper practice mark, when traditionally it is one of the hardest exams and I owe it all to McNae and my trainer Chris Hatton.”

A top performance from Benjamin Wilkinson of the Oxford Mail earned him the Esso Award for his performance in the news report.

The examiners praised Ben’s paper, saying it “had a good selection of key facts. The background he included provided good context which was enhanced by well-chosen, strong quotes and reported speech.”

Said Ben: “Thanks must go to my news editors as their strict intolerance of bad copy has no doubt helped with this.”

The Society of Editors’ award for the news interview exam went to previous Journalism Diversity Fund recipient Sam Smith of the Brentwood Gazette.

Sam was praised by examiners for being very ordered, polite and thorough in his questioning and asked questions of the interviewee that other candidates did not. The result was a well-structured story that flowed well and took the reader through from start to end.

Sam, who studied at News Associates, said: “Naturally I’m delighted to receive the award, if a little surprised. It was a lot of effort preparing for the exams, but it seems to have paid off. Passing first time and getting an award – clearly Christmas has come early.”

Examiners praised the work of  Jennifer Stanton of the Surrey Advertiser who took the prize for the best logbook.  They said the logbook did all the basic things brilliantly, showed impeccable presentation and was both easy to mark and a ‘joy to read.’

Said Jennifer: “I worked incredibly hard to produce a good logbook, although I never imagined it would be the best in the country. Thank you to everyone at the Surrey Advertiser who gave me so much support leading up to my exams.”

All the award winners receive a cheque for £250 and a certificate of achievement.

There was also an award for Emily Heward, a senior reporter with the Halifax Courier. She won the Pamela Meyrick Award for her performance in the NCE.

The award is presented annually, by Nicola Meyrick, daughter of Pamela for the best NCE candidate working on a newspaper in the North of England or North Wales.

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  • December 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    It is ludicrous that in this day and age journalists can still be judged by and large – by how neat their little logbooks are.

    The NCE, like most exams in school, teach you how to pass exams and little else. We have some great journalists on our papers without the NCE and some truly dismal ones with it. Still, least the latter are neat I guess, that comes in handy day to day.

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