A regional daily journalist who achieved a distinction in all three sections of her NQJ exam has been named Trainee of the Year at the NCTJ’s Awards for Excellence ceremony.
The training body handed out its annual awards at a ceremony in Manchester today after a record-breaking 481 entries were received across the 17 categories.
The top award for trainee journalist went to Abbey Maclure from the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Abbey, who studied at Leeds Trinity University, achieved the best overall results in the National Qualification in Journalism out of all the candidates sitting in the 2020-21 academic year, achieving a distinction in all three assessments.
Abbey, pictured, joined the YEP in 2019, specialising in business and lifestyle coverage. As well as covering breaking news, writes features for the paper’s Big Leeds Weekend supplement – celebrating Leeds’ food, music and culture scene.
In April 2021 she launched the YEP’s Saving Lives After Lockdown campaign – highlighting the devastating impact of knife crime in Leeds as lockdown restrictions were eased.
The Student Journalist of the Year prize went to Alice Preece, right, who completed her NCTJ Diploma in Journalism at the University of Sheffield.
Alice, who is now working as a digital PR executive with agency Rise at Seven, achieved the best overall diploma results with an impressive seven As and 100wpm shorthand.
There was also an award for Apprentice of the Year which went to Max Stephens, who completed his apprenticeship with The Telegraph and PA Training.
Abbey, Alice and Max each received a cheque for £300 from the awards’ sponsors.
The ceremony, which took place at Hallé St Peter’s in Manchester, was hosted by Sky Sports News presenter Nick Powell.
He said: “The importance of journalism has been thrust into the spotlight once more through the unbelievable courage and bravery of reporters in Ukraine, risking their lives to tell the stories the world needs to know.”
Attendees watched a moving report from Sky News special correspondent, and NCTJ patron, Alex Crawford, reporting from Ukraine this month.
Addressing the shortlisted entrants, she said: “There is no doubt that your place on the shortlist demonstrates the determination and resilience needed to forge a successful career in journalism.”
The awards also included three prizes designed to celebrate innovation and diversity in journalism education and training.
The equality, diversity and inclusion award, sponsored by the Financial Times, was won by Jem Collins, founder of social enterprise Journo Resources, which has helped thousands of people take their first steps into journalism and beyond.
The Community News Project award, sponsored by Meta, went to Naomi de Souza of Coventry Live, who was praised by judges for an investigation into the sale of skin lightening products.
And the Innovation of the Year award, designed to celebratenew and exciting ways centres are teaching and inspiring student journalists, went to the University of Sheffield for the launch of a news project module which enabled students to run their own news organisations.
The final award of the afternoon went to Karen Ballam, NCTJ chief examiner for shorthand, who was honoured for her outstanding contribution to journalism training and education with the NCTJ chairman’s award.
Karen, who has taught shorthand at Bournemouth University since 1998, has been a member of the NCTJ’s shorthand examinations board for many years and was appointed chief examiner in 2015.
NCTJ chairman Kim Fletcher said: “When the serious nature of this pandemic became clear, the indomitable team at the NCTJ, in the space of just a few weeks, did a remarkable job adapting our qualifications to a virtual world.
“Karen had the biggest challenge of all to make this a reality for hundreds of students sitting their shorthand exams. She has been instrumental in overcoming the risks, difficulties and complexities of adapting the exams for home delivery.”
The full list of winners was as follows:
Innovation of the Year
University of Sheffield – Winner
Nottingham Trent University- Commended
University of Kent – Commended
Equality. Diversity and Inclusion Award, Sponsored by the Financial Times
Jem Collins, Journo Resources – Winner
News UK – Highly Commended
Sophia Alexandra Hall, Classic FM – Commended
Isabelle Jani-Friend, freelance journalist – Commended
Student news journalism
Elsa Maishman, NCTJ distance learner – Winner
Neha Gohil, News Associates London – Highly commended
David Averre, News Associates London – Commended
Trainee news journalism
Shona Elliot, Edinburgh Evening News – Winner
Sophie Perry, Oxford Mail – Commended
Melissa Sigodo, MyLondon – Commended
Student sports journalism
Tomas Hill Lopez-Menchero, News Associates London – Winner
David Averre, News Associates London – Highly commended
Katie Catherall, NCTJ distance learner – Commended
Trainee sports journalism
Rachel Steinberg, Sportsbeat – Winner
Ellen McCarthy, Sky Sports News – Highly commended
Nathan Atkinson, Bradford Telegraph & Argus – Commended
Simeon Wright, talkSPORT – Commended
Student top scoop
Sophia Alexandra Hall, News Associates London – Winner
Phoebe Dampare Osei, News Associates London – Highly commended
Lucia Banks, Harlow College – Commended
Trainee top scoop
Shazad Hussain, Berkshire Live and Buckinghamshire Live – Winner
Charlotte McLaughlin, East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star – Highly commended
Bradley Deas, Bradford Telegraph & Argus – Commended
Maddy Mussen, PA Training – Winner
Helen Brown, News Associates London – Highly commended
Cal Gaunt, News Associates Manchester – Commended
Rory Sullivan, the Independent – Winner
Dani Cole, The Mill – Highly commended
Sofia Della Sala, OxfordshireLive – Commended
Bobby Twidale, Nottingham Trent University – Winner
Sanny Rudravajhala, University of Salford – Highly commended
Jack Shute, University of Gloucestershire – Commended
Carolina Herranz-Carr, ITV, and Charlie Jones, BBC – Winner
Connor Gormley, Winchester Today – Highly commended
Immy Share, NewsShopper – Commended
Student data journalism
Jacklin Kwan, News Associates Manchester – Winner
Natasha Livingstone, News Associates London – Highly commended
Natalie Crookham, Kingston University – Commended
Beth Gulliver, Cardiff University – Commended
Trainee data journalism
Laura Parnaby, PA Media – Winner
Matilda Martin, Tes – Highly commended
Best student project
Actually Autistic: Hiding in Plain Sight, University of Kent – Winner
Transplants – The Patients on Pause, University of Kent – Highly commended
Noelle, University of Sunderland – Commended
Community News Project award
Naomi de Souza, CoventryLive – Winner
Rosie Boon, Peterborough Telegraph – Highly commended
Alex Davis, DevonLive – Commended
Bradley Deas, Bradford Telegraph & Argus – Commended
Laoise Gallagher, KentOnline – Commended
Apprentice of the year award
Max Stephens, The Telegraph/PA Training – Winner
Jody Doherty-Cove, Brighton Argus/Highbury College – Highly commended
Aisha Zahid, Sky News/PA Training – Highly commended
Sophie Skyring, Norwich Evening News/Darlington College – Commended
Student of the year award
Alice Preece, University of Sheffield – Winner
Paul Kilbey, News Associates Manchester – Highly commended
Elaine McCallig, News Associates London – Highly commended
Imran Marashli, PA Training – Commended
Georgina Quach, University of Sheffield – Commended
Daisy Stephens, Kingston University – Commended
Trainee of the year award
Abigail Maclure, Yorkshire Evening Post – Winner
Ryan Evans, Basingstoke Gazette – Highly commended
Brogan Maguire, Sheffield Star – Commended
James Robinson, Hexham Courant – Commended
Karen Ballam, chief examiner for shorthand