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Past winners urge trainees and students to enter annual awards

Shona ElliottPast winners have urged student, trainee and apprentice journalists to enter an annual awards scheme recognising their talents.

Entries are currently being welcomed for the National Council for the Training of Journalists Awards for Excellence, which includes a podcasting prize for the first time this year.

The awards, which are free to enter, also offer news journalism, sports journalism, top scoop and features categories.

Edinburgh Evening News disabilities and equalities reporter Shona Elliott, who won the first Community News Project award in 2019, has encouraged entrants to come forward before the 13 November deadline.

Shona, pictured, told the NCTJ:” I went to the awards ceremony with the mindset that it was really nice to be nominated and this would be a good chance to meet other young journalists starting their career.

“I was extremely surprised when I won. I was really pleased, although it did take a few days to sink in.

“It was good to meet other young reporters at the ceremony and I was delighted to be able to invite my family along too. They’ve supported me a lot so it’s nice to share these moments together.”

She added: “I entered because my colleagues told me I should and I never thought I would be in with a chance, which just goes to show that the old cliché is true – you have to be ‘in it to win it’.

“So, why not just put in an application and see what happens?”

Shona’s call has been echoed by Brendan Marshall, who studied on the MA journalism course at Ulster University and won the 2019 student top scoop award.

Brendan, who now works as a journalist and producer for BBC Northern Ireland, said: “You have absolutely nothing to lose.

“If you are serious about journalism, and have something to add, then apply and show everyone your work and talent and let the rest take care of itself.”

Details on how to enter can be found here.