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Training Matters: Who made the difference for you?

Kim Fletcher calls for nominations for his 2014 NCTJ Chairman’s Award to recognise those who have made an outstanding contribution to the training of journalists.


It’s remarkable, when you talk to journalists, how often they refer to their early career and the man or woman who revealed how the industry worked, explained the true importance of the trade or gave them the belief that they could succeed. Sometimes that mentor is an older colleague, a demanding figure on the news desk or a features editor who spotted an ability to write. More often, these days, it’s someone who has taught them. They never thought they would derive such pleasure from media law but…

We’re very lucky at the NCTJ in having such an enthusiastic group of trainers and lecturers on courses around the country. Some come from a newspaper or broadcasting background, others from the disciplines they teach: all tend to share a passion for the value of journalism and a belief in the importance of high standards within the industry.

Each year, the NCTJ Chairman’s Award celebrates a figure who has made an outstanding contribution to high standards of journalism training. He or she could be an editor, a tutor or anyone who has made a real impact on the training of journalists. This is where we need your help. We’ve already got a list of good candidates: we want you to add to it by nominating figures you believe have made that difference.

We think we have made some good calls. It’s been a real pleasure, in presenting this award at our annual skills conference, to sense the goodwill in the room as the winner is announced. Last year’s winner was David Kett, who has taught public affairs on accredited courses for almost 40 years. He started teaching at Highbury College in 1971, and later taught at the University of Bournemouth, the Southampton Institute and Uptospeed. We doubt there is a single news room in the country where there isn’t someone who has benefited from his inspiring tutelage, including some leading names in the industry. David has retained an infectious enthusiasm for both his subject, and how it should be taught, and is still unafraid to make a few waves when required.

Other recent winners include David Rowell and Amanda Ball, hugely popular figures in the industry. David has done terrific work on the NCTJ’s newspaper journalism examinations and journalism qualifications boards and has trained hundreds of young journalists, most recently the Johnston Press trainees who now embrace the digital revolution. Mandy, a renowned teacher of public affairs and law at Sheffield College and Nottingham Trent University, is another of those figures who wears her knowledge lightly, combining it with an infectious enthusiasm and a warm humour.

Those names give you an idea of the standard. Who do you suggest can match it? Please think of the figures you know, the names who have made a real difference. We want to celebrate the best. You can help us. Email your nomination, in no more than 500 words, to jan.alder@nctj.com. We need names by Friday, 19 September.

Read about some of our high-profile alumni’s memories of their NCTJ training on our website here http://www.nctj.com/want-to-be-a-journalist/careers/alumni

More information about the 2014 Awards for Excellence sponsored by NFL here http://www.nctj.com/journalism-qualifications/Awards/AwardsforExcellence