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March NQJ: Reporter’s ‘near-perfect’ law answer wins award

Katie Dickinson

A reporter who produced a ‘near-perfect’ answer to a law question has been awarded a prize after successfully achieving senior status.

Katie Dickinson, left, from The Westmorland Gazette won the Ted Bottomley Award for her media law and practice exam, which was praised as “outstanding” by examiners, achieving a record-breaking 91pc for the exam.

She was one of four candidates to sit the National Qualification in Journalism exams in March, which had a pass rate of 72pc, who have been awarded prizes of £250 each.

Also winning prizes was Edmund Crosthwaite of the East Anglian Daily Times, Charlotte Austen-Hardy of the Chelmsford Weekly News and Jonathan Robinson of the North West Evening Mail.

In praising Katie’s exam answer, examiners said: “This was an outstanding paper. It included a near-perfect answer for question 2, plus excellent ones for questions 1 and 3.

“Katie not only showed good knowledge of law and ethics, but she also expressed it with clarity. She picked up on the problems and explained logically how best to deal with them. To drop only nine marks is exceptional. Well done.”

Said Katie: “I’m delighted to pass my seniors and it was a fantastic surprise to learn that I had won the award for the best media law and practice paper.

“I’d like to thank my news editor and content editor at the Westmorland Gazette, Mike Addison and Andrew Thomas, for all their help and support over the past 18 months.”

Edmund Crosthwaite

Edmund, left, won the Esso Award for his news report and was praised for a “high level of news sense”.

Examiners said: “Edmund produced a story containing all the key content, written in a logical and very readable fashion, underpinned by some excellent ideas in part B. Overall, he demonstrated a high level of news sense. Congratulations.”

Edmund said: “I was delighted to first find out I had passed all the exams and even more so to find out about the award.

“I didn’t know there was anything like this attached to the exams so it was certainly a surprise to be told I had won.

“I felt I had performed quite well in the news report but I never expected to get additional recognition for it.

“It’s great to have taken the next step in my career by passing the NQJ and even more so to have done it first time round.”

Charlotte Austin-Hardy

Charlotte, pictured left, won the Society of Editors’ Award for her news interview.

The examiners said: “Charlotte is a worthy winner. Her interview copy told the story in a straightforward, easy-to-follow manner with good chronology.

“She captured the drama very well. Her use of quotes was excellent.”

Said Charlotte: “I was so worried about the exam results that when I opened the letter saying that I’d passed I burst into tears!

“I really can’t believe that I’ve won a prize as well, I was so nervous before the interview exam that I was convinced I’d failed it.

“My work colleagues have been amazing from the moment I joined Newsquest so I’d really like to express my thanks to all of them for their help, advice and support.”

Jonathan Robinson

And Jonathan, left, won the Newsquest Award for his logbook, which was described as “excellent”.

Said the examiners: “This was an excellent logbook and a great example of the standards we expect to see from candidates. The most pleasing aspect of Jonathan’s submission is that he delivered some of the basic key tasks very well.

“Tasks such as family events, writing to pictures and numeracy were delivered in a strikingly clear but engaging way and we have no hesitation in naming this entry as our award winner.”

Jonathan said: “I was absolutely delighted to have passed my NQJ but was completely overwhelmed when I found out my portfolio was judged to have been the best in the country.

“I thoroughly enjoy feature writing and delving into social issues deeper so I’m pleased the markers recognised my enthusiasm for this.

“I must thank the whole team at the North-West Evening Mail for their support during my first 18 months.”