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Top-performing journalism students honoured at annual awards

Journalism students have been rewarded for their hard work over the course of their training at an awards ceremony in London.

Nine students who completed the diploma in journalism won prizes for their exam performance, which they received at the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ annual student council.

Among them was James Gray, who was presented with the HoldtheFrontPage award for production journalism.

The graduate of News Associates, in Manchester, is now working on the sports desk of the Daily Express after a spell freelancing and an internship with Sportsbeat, in London.

James Gray, right, is presented with the HTFP production journalism award by Matt Cooke, Google News Lab lead for the UK, Ireland and the Nordics

James Gray, right, is presented with the HTFP production journalism award by Matt Cooke, Google News Lab lead for the UK, Ireland and the Nordics

Said James: “I was delighted and quite surprised to win the award as after the exam I was fretting about headlines for ages afterwards. But I must have been well-taught by David Keane and everyone at News Associates, Manchester and this result is a testament to that more than anything else.

“Attention to detail was the thing that I learned was the key to strong subbing, and endlessly practicing writing headlines at speed so that by the end I was able to produce them accurately and quickly as opposed to one or the other.”

This year was the first-time a NCTJ distance learning student scooped a win in the diploma awards, with Tanita Cross picking up the award for the best performance in essential media law and regulation.

On receiving her award Tanita, a General Medical Council digital content officer, said: “I was delighted to win the award for best essential media law exam, particularly as a distance learner.

“Passing the exam made months of juggling work and study worth it, but winning the award put the cherry on the cake. It’s also given me a boost in confidence for my next set of exams.

“My advice to other distance learners is to give yourself time to read and absorb all of the information before trying to take notes and revise. And always remember to give yourself a break! You won’t learn anything on four hours sleep a night.”

Conor Gaffey, who studied at News Associates, London, also made history by being the first person to pick up two awards – for performance in the reporting exam for the best and fastest shorthand note at 110 words per minute (wpm).

Said Conor: “It’s a privilege to win these two awards. It makes all those hours spent poring over a shorthand pad on the Victoria line worthwhile.

“Getting my NCTJ at News Associates has set me up for my career and I’ve been able to develop those reporting skills at Newsweek Europe.

“My advice for future students is don’t be shy, ask advice from all the people you can, and think calmly under pressure. And enjoy it, journalism is a great laugh.”

The full list of winners was as follows

Broadcast journalism award sponsored by ITV News
George Torr, The Sheffield College

Business of magazines award sponsored by Mark Allen Group
Smitha Sadanandan, Lambeth College

Essential media law award sponsored by Oxford University Press
Tanita Cross, distance learner

Essential public affairs award sponsored by Oxford University Press
Laura Drysdale, University of Sheffield

Media law court reporting award sponsored by Johnston Press
Malte Rohwer-Kahlman, University of Sheffield

Production journalism award sponsored by HoldtheFrontPage
James Gray, News Associates, Manchester

Reporting award sponsored by Archant
Conor Gaffey, News Associates, London

Shorthand 100wpm award sponsored by Society of Editors
Georgina Moore, University of Portsmouth

Shorthand 110wpm award sponsored by Sky Sports News
Conor Gaffey, News Associates, London

Videojournalism award for online sponsored by Mustard TV
Adrian Williams, Brunel University