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Meta-funded reporter among winners of NQJ exam awards

Megan HoweA Meta-funded community news reporter is among three new senior journalists to have been honoured for their exam performances.

Megan Howe, Toby Bryant and Jay Gardner respectively won the Practical Journalism Skills, Media Law and Ethics in Practice and Logbook Awards for their work in attaining the National Qualification in Journalism from the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

Megan, who works for the Shropshire Star as part of the Community News Project, earned 80pc in the community journalism version of the practical journalism skills exam.

The 24-year-old took on her role in 2021 after completing an English degree from the University of Exeter. She completed her NCTJ Diploma in Journalism in May 2022, enabling her to sit the NQJ exams this year.

Megan, pictured, said: “It was an exam that everybody seems to struggle with because it’s quite hefty. But when it comes to journalists’ work, it’s what you do and deal with day to day.

“I quite enjoyed writing the article for the exam, seeing how your story develops as you get more information.

“It was quite stressful – all exams are to an extent – but I enjoyed this one and it was a consolidation of the work that myself and my [trainer] had put in.”

Meta confirmed earlier this month it will no longer fund the Community News Project and, while those employed as part of the project will have their existing contracts honoured, reporters currently studying towards their preliminary journalism qualifications will not be subsequently funded to go on and complete their senior qualifications.

Toby, 25, only dropped 15 marks in his media law and ethics in practice exam, meaning he achieved a 90pct mark.

He began his career with Reach plc sister websites Sussex Live and Kent Live before moving to Newcastle World, and has since moved to National World’s central team as a sports lifestyle writer.

He  said: “I am really chuffed. I was shocked at the time, I wasn’t expecting it – I had heard of the NQJ awards so I guess it was in the back of my mind but I had forgotten about it.”

BBC apprentice Jay, 23, achieved 86pc for his logbook and said he was “blindsided” by news of his award.

The winners were selected from those who achieved the NQJ in exams in November 2022, March 2023 and July 2023.