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March NQJ: ‘Reporting is best job in the world’ says exam award winner

Tom SeawrdFour journalists have been honoured for their performance following the latest round of senior examinations, with one declaring that reporting is “the best job in the world.”

The Swindon Advertiser’s Tom Seaward, left, was one of four award winners after the March sitting of the NCTJ’s National Qualification in Journalism, which saw 16 new seniors qualify.

Tom won the Newsquest e-logbook award thanks to a portfolio described as “a richly deserving winner”and “one which demonstrated a depth of talent”.

The other winners were Megan Baynes, of the Isle of Wight County Press, Harry Taylor, of the Ham & High, and Andrew McQuarrie, of the Shetland Times.

Tom, who trained at Press Association Training before working for the Advertiser, said: “I fell into journalism by accident, doing my NCTJ prelim course in part because it was the easiest way I could find of learning shorthand. It was one of the better decisions I’ve made.

MEgan Baynes“Our newsroom has not been immune to cuts and the job has changed even in the two years I’ve been a reporter.

“Despite that, I still think reporting is one of the best jobs in the world. I’ve met people I would never otherwise have come across, made friends and contacts that will hopefully last a lifetime.

“Thanks go to my excellent news editors, Tina Robins and Neil Beck, and editor Pete Gavan.”

Megan, left, who won Apprentice of the Year at the NCTJ’s 2018 Awards for Excellence, won the Esso news report award.

The moderator called Megan’s news story “compelling”, adding that “she also demonstrated good shorthand and included appropriate accurate quotes in the story”.

Highbury College graduate Megan said: ““I am absolutely over the moon with this award – it was very unexpected and I am so grateful to my colleagues at the Isle of Wight County Press, and Highbury College, for their support over the last year and a half.

Harry Taylor“It’s been an amazing 18 months going from apprentice trainee to fully qualified senior reporter and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

University of Sheffield graduate Harry was praised by the moderator for an “excellent performance” which won him the media law and practice award.

Harry, left, said: “I’m surprised and delighted to have won this award for my law exam.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without Mark Hanna, who I had the privilege of being taught by on my original NCTJ course, and Crispin Clark, who ran an incredibly useful refresher course.

“I was also very well supported by my editor, Ramzy Alwakeel, in the weeks beforehand.”

Andrew, who studied at Cardiff University, won the Society of Editors news interview award, for an answer which “showed an excellent writing style” and “captured the drama and the reader’s attention from the start”.

Andrew MacQuarrieAndrew, left, said: “I’m surprised and delighted to learn that my news interview has been selected for a prize sponsored by the Society of Editors.

“Success in the NQJ exams couldn’t have been secured without the support of my colleagues at the Shetland Times, who made sure my training was both hugely valuable and most enjoyable.

“I’d also like to thank NQJ trainer Dave King for his help in preparing me for the exams.”

Each winner receives a certificate and a prize of £250.


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  • April 17, 2019 at 6:27 am

    I hope Tom’s youthful enthusiasm -“best job in the world”- is rewarded by the industry. A lot of us certainly felt like that once.

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  • April 18, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    It certainly IS the best job in the world. But you need to take charge and make it your own.

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