Senior reporter exam passes were at their lowest rate in almost five years in March, but one local journalist picked up two prizes his efforts.
Samuel Jackson (pictured), of the Leamington Spa Courier won £500 for the highest marks in both the media law and news reporting exams.
He said: “Just passing is brilliant enough, but to come top in not one but two of the papers is the icing on the cake. I can’t really believe it.”
Of the 42 trainee journalists who sat the National Qualification in Journalism in March, 55 per cent passed to become senior reporters.
This was the lowest pass rate since July 2013, when it was 49 per cent.
Scroll down for full list of successful NQJ candidates
Reporters take media law, news report, news interview and logbook exams as part of the assessment, accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists for reporters with 18 months experience in the role.
The best figures for March were seen in the logbook exam, which had a 100 per cent pass rate and “strong competition” for the overall logbook prize.
The media law and practice exam, which tested defamation, contempt, aspects of court reporting, ethical areas, confidentiality and copyright, had a pass rate of 65 per cent.
The news report exam had a pass rate of 55 per cent, which moderators blamed on “poor shorthand and the ability to take accurate, selective notes”, while the news interview had a pass rate of 64 per cent.
Moderators said in their report that it was “vital” shorthand was up to speed and neat enough to be transcribed accurately.
Two other journalists were awarded for their top exam scores, including:
- Jordan Reynolds (Shropshire Star) for the news interview
- Katherine Clementine (Surrey Advertiser) for the logbook.
Three of the three awards were won by City of Wolverhampton College alumni, where both Jackson and Reynolds achieved diplomas in journalism.
Jackson (pictured) thanked Courier editor Phil Hibble, trainer John Wilson and Wolverhampton College tutor Dani Wozencroft, saying: “They have all helped me so much in becoming the journalist I am today.”
The exam moderators described Jackson’s media law and practice exam as an “excellent, all-round paper showing good knowledge and application” and praised his news report for being written “with pace and accuracy”.
Reynolds said: “This was such a shock but I’m so pleased to pass, let alone have the best news interview paper.”
Praising her exam performance, the moderator said: “Jordan’s intro set the scene, taking the reader straight into the drama from the second paragraph. There was good detail, well used quotes and the piece flowed well.”
Clementine, who achieved her NCTJ diploma at Brunel University, said: “I’m so thrilled and humbled to have been chosen for this award. It means so much to me to have my hard work recognised in this way.
“I put my heart and soul into this logbook and thank my wonderful mentors Crispin Clark and Deanne Blaylock for their help and advice.”
The moderators said: “A strong logbook and a collection of work showing a candidate fully able to source and develop a story.”
The following candidates, listed in alphabetical order by surname, have now gained the National Qualification in Journalism to become senior reporters:
- Hollie Bone, Harrogate Advertiser
- Kieran Beattie, Press & Journal
- Milo Boyd, Reading Chronicle
- Ricky Charlesworth, Yorkshire Post
- Katherine Clementine, Surrey Advertiser
- Emma Crichton, Inverness Courier
- Michael Drummond, Worthing Herald
- Estel Farell Roig, South Wales Argus
- Nicholas Gullon, The Northern Echo
- James Hockaday, Maidenhead Advertiser
- Rebecca Hudson, Salisbury Journal Newspapers
- Samuel Jackson, Leamington Spa Courier
- Christopher Jaffray, Press & Journal
- Anna Khoo, Chichester Observer
- Nicholas Marko, Lancashire Telegraph
- Ryan Merrifield, Worcester News
- Richard Mills, Wiltshire Times
- Harriet Orrell, Eastern Daily Press
- Jonathan Rees, The Mail
- Jordan Reynolds, Shropshire Star
- Samantha Spowart, Hexham Courant
- Stephen Topping, Wilmslow Guardian
- Cheuk Ling Ann Yip, Get Surrey