Journalism trainees have achieved a record pass rate in the industry’s professional exam with 72pc of candidates qualifying as seniors.
Last month saw 69 candidates sit the National Qualification in Journalism with 50 of them achieving a pass.
The pass rate of 72pc is the best since the NQJ replaced the old National Certificate Examination in March 2013 and the highest since the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ own records began in 2002.
Prior this to this year, the best result achieved since 2002 was in July 2008 when 66pc of candidates of passed.
Since the exam was overhauled, pass rates for the NQJ have gone from 54pc in March 2013, 49pc last July, 62pc in November and 67pc in March this year.
Commenting on the results, the chief examiner Steve Nelson put the improvement down to “increased focus” on the skills needed to be a senior rather than any “dumbing down” of the exam.
Said Steve: “Examiners remain keen to point out that the pass rate in no way represents a “dumbing down” in the marking criteria used for the exam, which remains as robust and rigorous as ever.
“It appears more likely that candidates, their editors and their trainers are becoming increasingly focused on the key and enduring industry skills that make up the DNA of a good senior reporter – the ability to report the spoken word in an engaging and newsworthy fashion, the ability to conduct and interpret a good interview with someone who has a story to tell, and the ability to write it in the context of legal constraints and ethical soundness.”
The NQJ for reporters is divided into four sections: an e-logbook; a news interview; a news report; and a media law and practice paper. Candidates have to pass all four sections to become seniors.
Last month’s sitting saw a pass rate of 78pc for the media law and practice exam, 75pc for news report, 80pc for news interview and 96pc for logbooks.
The following candidates were successful and have now qualified as seniors:
Andrew Baber, Wiltshire Times
Kate Banks, Sale & Altrincham Messenger
Ashley Jay Barnard, Darlington & Stockton Times
Rebecca Bastable, Chichester Observer
Richard Beecham, Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group
Paul Berentzen, Blackpool Gazette
Neil Bracegirdle, Suffolk Free Press
Gavin Caney, Eastern Daily Press
Thomas Carlisle, Horncastle News
Man Yee Chow, The Sentinel
William Cook, Burnley Express
Jacobus Couvee, North London & Herts Newspapers
Patrick Daly, The Herald, Plymouth
Sian Davies, The Herald, Plymouth
Philip Dewey, Slough Express
Lewis Dyson, Sheerness Times
Katy Louise, Griffin Midweek Herald
Nick Gutteridge, Reading Chronicle
Emma Hardwick, Saffron Walden Reporter
Jennifer Hardwick, Courier Media Group
Kirsty-Ann Hewson, Congleton Chronicle
Rachael Hook, Courier Media Group
James Illingworth, Wigan Evening Post
Ben Leo, The Argus
Olivia Lerche, Chichester Observer
Charlotte Lilley, Express & Star
Hanna Ljunggren, Banbury Guardian
Anna Mauremootoo, Wiltshire Gazette & Herald
Gayle McDonald, Daily Echo
Mark McKay, Oxford Mail
Rosa McMahon, Eastern Daily Press
Anne Moore, Wiltshire Gazette & Herald
Thomas Murphy, Westmorland Gazette
Katriona Ormiston, Oxfordshire Guardian
Ann-Marie Parry, Press and Journal (Aberdeen)
James Podesta, Cambridgeshire Times
Craig Saunders, Courier Media Group
David Sharman, Blackpool Gazette
Jonathan Sharman, Surrey Comet
Christopher Shimwell, Chichester Observer
Kathryn Snowdon, Watford Observer
Megan Tatum, Essex Chronicle
Katie Upton, Blackpool Gazette
Jonathan Vale, East Anglian Daily Times
Gareth Vickers, Blackpool Gazette
Daniel Lee Willers, Pocklington Post
Kate Louise Wilson, Stroud News & Journal
Heloise Wood, News Shopper
Hannah Worrall, Driffield Times
Simone Yates, Lancashire Telegraph