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Reporter passes seniors exam a fortnight after losing job

An unemployed journalist has written about the bitter-sweet experience of passing his seniors exam a fortnight after losing his job.

Hugh Morris was a trainee reporter with Archant-owned Cambridge First until it was axed last month with the loss of 12 jobs.

He had already sat the National Certificate Examination in March to quailfy as a senior reporter and was one of 45 successful candidates whose names were announced last week.

But writing on his blog, he described his success as something of a “hollow victory” as he is now without work.

He blogged:  “On Wednesday morning, while in bed, with no firm plan for the day and no job to go to, I became a fully-qualified journalist. I became a senior reporter.

“I passed the final set of journalistic exams to bring my credentials fully up to date and now the media world is my metaphorical oyster.

“Only, I’m not actually  a senior reporter because I’m unemployed after my newspaper, Cambridge First, shut down a fortnight ago.

“It’s a sad paradox. But this, or so I’ve learned, is life in the media.

“I was ecstatic and mildly shocked when I passed my NCE because, frankly, the exams were difficult. The pass rate was only 45 per cent for March’s exams and on reading the examiner’s report you understand why.

“I am most pleased I passed my seniors, but it does feel like a slightly hollow victory.”

Cambridge First was marketed as a ’21st century weekly newspaper’ when it first hit the streets in May 2010.

But the title failed to make inroads against more established competitors and Archant pulled the plug on it at the end of March.

7 comments

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  • April 20, 2012 at 8:54 am
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    Chin up Hugh. At least you’ve got the qualification and some experience. There’s plenty of other people trying to take their first steps in the industry and have neither. Be proactive while you’re out of work and I’m sure you’ll find yourself working as a reporter again soon.

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  • April 20, 2012 at 10:05 am
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    It’s unlikely that this will be the last time Hugh loses his job, so getting back to work will be great experience. It’ll certainly make it easier for him than it has been for the vast numbers of people out of work for the first time after working for decades, often for the same company.

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  • April 20, 2012 at 10:20 am
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    You may be out of work, but you had the foresight to write a piece up for Holdthefrontpage on your plight. You’ll go far, my son.

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  • April 20, 2012 at 10:43 am
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    Oh I could cry. This heartbreaking news at the end of a savage week for local journalism. The sooner the “bosses” realise their brutal decisions are affecting real people, real newspapers, real communities, the better. But they never listen. They’re not interested. Shame on them.

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  • April 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm
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    Accountants and lawyers at the top took on too much debt 10 years ago during ‘acquisition periods’. The depressing thing is they probably hit all their targets. The passionate, talented and underpaid journalists are the regional papers’ greatest asset but they take them for granted and don’t seem to care. Good luck Hugh.

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  • April 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm
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    Hugh,

    Congratulations on passing your NCE.

    We are always on the lookout for fresh talent at the North West Evening Mail in Cumbria.

    Feel free to send me your CV and a covering letter about your passions, what drives you etc.

    You never know where it might lead…

    james.higgins@cnmedia.co.uk

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  • April 26, 2012 at 9:16 am
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    I was headhunted by this newspaper just three weeks before it was shut down. After 12 years as a freelancer I was tempted back into the world of ‘steady’ work as head of content at Cambridge First … bit of a joke that turned out to be!

    It astonishes me that a national company can be allowed to take on staff in the knowledge that it is going to close the publication in question – and within the law, it would seem. The really ironic thing is that all the sales people on the newspaper were found jobs elsewhere within Archant.

    Good luck to you Hugh … and if anyone needs an experienced freelancer… :)

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