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Trio of college’s alumni scoop exam performance awards

Francesca GillettAlumni of the same journalism college have won three of the four awards for performance at the March 2016 seniors’ exam.

Two of the winners, Francesca Gillett and Luke Sproule, were students together in Cardiff in 2013-14. A third, Rachel Conner, studied on the same course three years earlier.

The other winner, Simon Murfitt, graduated from the journalism degree course at Nottingham Trent University, which has topped the NCTJ undergraduate course results tables for the last four years.

Francesca, pictured left and now a reporter with the South Wales Argus, won the Esso award for the news report exam. She joined the paper as a trainee on leaving the MA News Journalism course at Cardiff in 2014.

She said: “I was absolutely delighted when NCTJ told me the news. This morning I was dead certain I hadn’t even got through the exams at all so this is great news and hard to believe. I think the refresher course I went on really helped in preparing me for the exams and also just day-to-day work at the paper.”

Of her exam answer, the examiners said: “Francesca’s excellent choice of content, selected from both the brief and the speech, was all reported accurately in a lively, easy-to-read story which held the reader’s attention from intro to final par.

Luke SprouleLuke, pictured left, now a reporter with the Oxford Mail, received the Ted Bottomley award, sponsored by Midland News Association, after scoring 93pc in his media law and practice exam.

He said: “I’m delighted to have been awarded the Ted Bottomley award, which is not something I ever expected to achieve. The excellent tuition I got on my refresher course definitely helped, as did all the help, support and training I have been given by my editors at the Oxford Mail since I joined almost two years ago.

“I would also like to thank Midlands News Association for their sponsorship of the award, it really is a huge honour to have won.”

Luke also achieved Diploma in Journalism A grades in both essential media law and media law court reporting exams.

Commenting on Luke’s paper, the examiners said: “An excellent paper that was strong in all areas and well written.

“In all answers the legal and ethical problems were spotted, the correct law and ethical decisions applied and right conclusions were drawn. On top of that, Luke made good use of case studies, which he applied to the scenarios.”

Rachel ConnorRachel, pictured left, now a reporter for the Northern Echo, won the Newsquest award for her logbook.

She said: “I was so pleased to pass all my exams and finding out I had the best logbook was an amazing surprise. I’ve been lucky to work with some really great people at the Northern Echo and at my previous papers – Teesdale Mercury and News Shopper – who have given me so much help and advice, and let me cover some fantastic stories. I’d like to thank everyone for their support.”

Mike Hill, director of the news journalism MA course at Cardiff University said: “This is excellent news for Francesca, Luke and Rachel and a great testament to their hard work and journalistic talent. Their awards are richly deserved.

“The fact that three out of the four winners came from the Cardiff news journalism postgraduate course is something of which we’re very proud.

“We promote the ‘Cardiff Trained’ label and the advantages that journalists who start their careers with us receive and continue to accrue throughout their working lives. This is a terrific endorsement of that.”

Simon MurfittSimon, pictured left, a reporter for the Brentwood Gazette, won the Society of Editors’ award for the news interview exam.

He said: “I am delighted and very proud that my news interview paper has been selected to win this award.”