AddThis SmartLayers

Pass rate for senior journalist exam rises to record-equalling 72pc

NCTJ logo The pass rate for the National Qualification in Journalism has risen to a record-equalling 72pc, the latest results have revealed.

A total of 90 candidates sat the exams on 6 March at nine centres across the UK and 65 candidates passed them all to achieve senior status.

The pass rate of 72pc equals the previous record from July last year and betters the 67pc achieved this time last year.

The final National Certificate Examination for sports reporters was also held on the same date, with four out of the five candidates achieving senior status, but the qualification is now being scrapped due to a lack of demand.

According to the NCTJ, fewer trainee journalists are specialising in sport at an early stage in their careers, instead working in general news first.

It urged sports editors to put their trainees through the general NQJ exam in future.

Commenting on the 72pc pass rate, NQJ chief examiner Steve Nelson said: “I am absolutely delighted for these candidates. In offering my congratulations, I think it is worth reminding ourselves of just how tough these exams continue to be.

“Candidates face three exams – media law and practice, news report and news interview – over the course of a day, on top of having to produce a logbook of material generated over at least an 18-month period.

“They are now invariably multi-skilled working across different platforms and are facing perhaps more pressure and requirements than ever before to be competent in dealing with legal and ethical issues.

“These requirements and abilities are all tested in the exams, which represent the gold standard in journalism.”

Commenting on the discontinuation of the sports qualification, Dave King, chief examiner for the sports NCE, said: “Although the number of students taking the NCTJ sports journalism option at diploma level remains high, fewer trainee journalists are specialising at an early stage of their career and are instead cutting their teeth in general news before making a permanent move to the sports desk.

“It is hoped that with new format NQJ exams, sports editors don’t neglect the need for proper training and mentoring of their staff and that they will, in future, put their trainees through the new all-round qualification for journalists which remains a rigorous test of journalism standards.”

Those who passed their NQJ exams included Becky Parker and Katie Richardson, who were both recipients of the Journalism Diversity Fund – which was set up to support the training of those from diverse backgrounds.

Becky won a bursary in 2012 to study at Cardiff University and is now working as a reporter for the Weston Worle & Somerset Mercury.

And Katie completed her preliminary training at News Associates London in 2013 and now works as a reporter for the Northern Echo.

She said: “I was thrilled to find out I’d passed my senior exams, it’s been a tough couple of years with three different jobs and late nights revising so the sense of relief was great when I got the news.

“I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without the help of the Journalism Diversity Fund who had faith in me, probably more than myself, so I will always be eternally grateful that I got that chance.”

The full list of newly-qualified seniors is:

Tom Ambrose, Richmond & Twickenham Times

Rhodri Andrews, Bracknell News

Megan Jane Archer, Wiltshire & Gloucester Standard

Sophie Arnold, Leigh Journal

Charlotte Austen-Hardy, Chelmsford Weekly News

Christopher Baynes, Croydon Guardian

Henry Bodkin, Aldershot News & Mail

Peter Michael Brown, North Devon Journal

Sophie Brownson, South Wales Argus

Hannah Bryan, Gazette & Herald

Tara May Cox, Dorset Echo

Edmund Crosthwaite, East Anglian Daily Times

Jeremy Culley, The Bolton News

Cara Cunningham, Knutsford Guardian

Katie Dickinson, The Westmorland Gazette

Sean-Paul Doran, Sevenoaks Chronicle

Charlotte Duncker, Congleton Chronicle

Christopher Dyer, Essex Chronicle

Lucy Elder, Maidenhead Advertiser

Jonathan Evely, Rutland and Stamford Mercury

Ben Fishwick, The News, Portsmouth

Dominic Gilbert, Swindon Advertiser

Faye Greenwell, North Devon Journal

Richard Guttridge, Express & Star

Jenny Hanson, The Western Telegraph

Michael Havis, Hertfordshire Mercury

Neil Hawkins, Evening Echo Newspapers, Basildon

Lauren Howard, Hampshire Chronicle

Charlotte Ikonen, Watford Observer

Lee Irving, Dorset Echo

Benjamin Joel Jackson, North West Evening Mail

Andrew Jameson, Croydon Advertiser

Rebecca Jones, South Wales Evening Post

Joseph Kasper, Dover Express

Dean Kilpatrick, Folkstone Herald

Luke Matthews, Maidenhead Advertiser

Kathleen Moore, Hexham Courant

Danielle Anne Morris, Somerset County Gazette

Lauren Nash, Hunts Post

Grace Newton, The Retford Times

Chad Nugent, Harwich & Manningtree Standard

Becky Parker, Weston Worle & Somerset Mercury

Katie Pavid, Bristol Evening Post

Rebecca Pearson, Southern Daily Echo

Elisha Pilmoor, The News, Portsmouth

Oliver Porritt, Sevenoaks Chronicle

Jamie Presland, Henley Standard

Katie Richardson, The Northern Echo

Joe Riddle, Salisbury Journal

Jonathan Robinson, North West Evening Mail

Natalie Robinson, Cambridge News

Thomas Scargill, Halifax Evening Courier

Vickie Scullard, The Bolton News

Fuchsia Singleton-Hoare, Mid Somerset Newspapers

Alexander Smith, The Sentinel

Emily Stott, East Kent Mercury

Matthew Strudwick, Surrey Advertiser

Stephen Sumner, Sidmouth Herald

Laura Neve Tacey, Halifax Evening Courier

Anna Verdon, Courier Media Group

Nadejda Vidinova, Evening Telegraph, Dundee

Peter Walker, Essex Chronicle

Christopher Lawrence Warne, Freelance

Caroline Wilson, Lincolnshire Echo

Beth Wyatt, Romford Recorder

The newly-qualified sports journalists are:

Robert Iles, Gloucestershire Echo

Thomas McCooey, Wigan Evening Post

Thomas Moore

Edward White, Harrogate Advertiser


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • April 22, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Well done all. Just hope they are given a chance to succeed in a career they love.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • April 22, 2015 at 10:08 am

    A few names I recognise from Brighton Journalist Works. Congratulations all, especially Charlotte, Joseph and Joe.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(1)
  • April 22, 2015 at 10:30 am

    I agree with the earlier comment. As one of the first ‘proficiency certificate’ achievers during those pioneering days we really felt we had a mission. Hopefully, some newspapers still strive for real news value and a reason to champion the rights of the underdog! Cheers, Ken Jackson

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • April 22, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Now they can start learning to write properly, if there is anyone in the office to teach them. Some of the writing from so-called seniors is abysmal, but good luck to this batch, even if they are destined to be web feeders.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • April 22, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Well done all – I remember how pleased I was to find out I had passed. The exams are tough and mark a real progression in your career.

    It’s unfortunate, however, that just before I left journalism last year, a junior reporter was employed on a higher salary than us seniors…

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(1)
  • April 23, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    @Hannah, I left a Newsquest paper last year to go back to freelancing. I’m a many years qualified senior and I was paid the princely sum of £16,600 a year – that’s only £1,000 more than an untrained new starter. When you realise that your skills and experience are worth so little to your employers and nothing is going to change for the better it’s time to say:”Screw you and goodbye.”
    That said, I congratulate the new seniors and wish them the best of luck.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)