Two-thirds of candidates who sat their senior exams in July have passed to achieve the National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ) and “senior journalist” status.
The assessment includes four parts – media law and practice, news report, news interview and e-logbook – with the top performers in each category receiving a cheque for £250.
Wakefield Express reporter Laura Drysdale (pictured top left) took the prize for media law with a score of 97 per cent in the exam – the highest ever recorded.
Drysdale, who studied an MA in journalism at the University of Sheffield, said: “I’m incredibly pleased – and relieved – to have passed the NQJ, and to receive the law prize was the icing on the cake.
“The hard work both within and outside of the newsroom, with help from my colleagues and Johnston Press trainers, has paid off. I’m looking forward to celebrating becoming a senior with the team.”
Examiners said: “Brilliant! That’s the only word to use to describe this paper. Two perfect answers, including the ethics question, shows what an exceptional candidate Laura is. This paper was logically put together with an easy-to-read style. Congratulations!”
Ilford Recorder reporter Matthew Clemenson (pictured top right) won the award for the best news report.
Clemenson, who completed a fast-track diploma at News Associates (London) last year said: “I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of the team I work with.
“Being lucky enough to be based in such a busy news patch with such a great team has really helped me hone my skills, so I’m glad to see it all paid off at the right time during the news report exam.”
Examiners said: “Matthew showed himself to be a confident, competent reporter producing clean copy crammed with detail and accurate quotes. His story was a joy to read. In part B he missed scoring a perfect 20 by just one mark. Congratulations.”
Northern Echo reporter Charlotte Bowe won the award for the best news interview.
Bowe, who completed a fast-track diploma at the former Press Association Training centre in Newcastle, said: “I’ve been extremely spoilt to work with and learn from such dedicated journalists.
“Hopefully winning this award is a way of saying thank you to all of them for their generosity, patience and wisdom.”
Examiners said: “Charlotte’s interview had a good pace. Her intro grabbed the reader immediately followed by a strong second and third par that set the scene well.
“This was followed by a chronology that led the reader through, backed-up by first-rate quotes. According to the marker, it was a piece of copy to make a news desk very happy!”
Sheffield Star reporter George Torr, who attended The Sheffield College, won the award for the best e-logbook.
Torr said: “I’m incredibly lucky to work on a paper in a city where I was born and grew up. I’m also very fortunate to work on a patch which provided me with such amazing stories.
“I’d like to thank my family and my girlfriend for their support during what is an incredibly stressful time for any trainee and also everyone at the Sheffield Star for having the confidence in me to tackle such stories.”
Examiners said: “An excellent logbook and one which proved to be clearly above the rest in terms of quality and depth of submissions… A superb example to anyone compiling their logbook from a candidate with a firm grasp of all the essentials.”