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Record-breaking law exam performance secures award for new senior

Laura DrysdaleA record-breaking performance won a journalist one of the four awards for those topping the charts at July’s National Qualification in Journalism exams.

Laura Drysdale, left, who works for the Wakefield Express, achieved a 97pc mark in her media law and practice paper, which secured her the media law award.

Elsewhere, the Ilford Recorder’s Matthew Clemenson claimed the Esso award for the best news report, Charlotte Bowe, of the Northern Echo, won the Society of Editors’ award for the best news interview and George Torr, who works at Sheffield daily The Star, received the the Newsquest award for the best e-logbook.

In marking, the law moderator said that “brilliant” was the only word to describe Laura’s paper, adding that she had provided two “perfect answers” and was an “exceptional candidate”.

Laura, who completed her MA in journalism at the University of Sheffield in 2015, said: “I’m incredibly pleased – and relieved – to have passed the NQJ, and to receive the law prize was the icing on the cake.

“The hard work both within and outside of the newsroom, with help from my colleagues and Johnston Press trainers, has paid off. I’m looking forward to celebrating becoming a senior with the team.”

The news report moderator said Matthew, left, had shown himself to be a “competent reporter producing clean copy crammed with detail and accurate quotes”.

Matt ClemensonMatthew, who completed a fast-track diploma at News Associates London in 2016, said: “I’m really happy to have won this award, and I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of the team I work with. Being lucky enough to be based in such a busy news patch with such a great team has really helped me hone my skills, so I’m glad to see it all paid off at the right time during the news report exam.

“I’m also massively grateful to Crispin, who led my NQJ refresher course – he really made sure I felt confident going into the exams.”

The news interview moderator praised Charlotte’s “good pace” in a piece which was a “piece of copy to make a news desk very happy”.

Charlotte BoweCharlotte, left, who completed her fast-track diploma at Press Association Training Newcastle in 2014, said: “From all of the incredible tutors at the former Press Association Training centre in Newcastle to my talented colleagues at the Northern Echo, I’ve been extremely spoilt to work with and learn from such dedicated journalists.

“Hopefully winning this award is a way of saying thank you to all of them for their generosity, patience and wisdom.”

Applauding George’s work, the chief examiner said his logbook “proved to be clearly above the rest in terms of quality and depth of submissions” and that it was “a superb example to anyone compiling their logbook from a candidate with a firm grasp of all the essentials”.

George TorrGeorge, left, a 2015 graduate from Sheffield College, said: “”I’m absolutely over the moon to be recognised with the top logbook score in the July NQJ exams. I’m incredibly lucky to work on a paper in a city where I was born and grew up. I’m also very fortunate to work on a patch which provided me with such amazing stories.

“I’d like to thank my family and my girlfriend for their support during what is an incredibly stressful time for any trainee and also everyone at The Star for having the confidence in me to tackle such stories.”