56 journalists achieve senior status in November NCE

A further 56 journalists are celebrating achieving senior status after passing the National Certificate Examination for reporters. A total of 106 candidates sat the exam on Friday, 9 November at eight centres across the UK – 54 for the first time and 52 re-sits. The overall pass rate was 53 per cent.

The pass rate increased from the previous sittings in 2012 (March and July) when 45 and 43 per cent of candidates passed.

This is the last-ever sitting of the National Certificate Examination as in March 2013 the NCE will be replaced by the National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ). This follows a two-year process of review, consultation and revision. Further information about the new qualification is available here.

Trainees completing the NCE had to complete four sections: news interview; news report; newspaper practice; and logbook.

89 candidates sat the news interview exam and 52 passed – 58 per cent.

This exam featured the story of a gas leak that caused an explosion in a shopping centre trapping a worker and injuring a shop assistant. A toddler escaped serious injury when a young woman shielded him from falling glass.

Examiners said that the majority of candidates managed to get the blast and the trapped worker in the introduction, quickly followed by the woman and child angle. However some did not get a grip of the incident and many made assumptions.

Many candidates were praised for picking good quotes and using them well but there were also a number that struggled with their interview technique.

The news report featured a story about action taken by an airport to prevent disruption in severe weather and 55 of the 98 candidates passed – 56 per cent. Examiners commented that there were a number of errors in the reporting of statistics and some candidates did not grasp all the angles. However others combined the various threads to craft readable, newsy and informative stories.

The newspaper practice exam challenged reporters on the legal issues they face on a daily basis. The pass rate increased from 54 per cent in July 2012 to 60 per cent, with 55 candidates out of 91 successful. 

In part A, candidates were tasked with answering law questions on covering court and defamation – issues that reporters are likely to encounter every day.

Part B asked candidates to put into words what they should be doing intuitively in their working lives – how to pursue a story, who to talk to, what to ask them and why. The scenarios included road repairs, a 101 year-old Twitter user and changes to NHS pay and conditions.

In the logbook section there was a pass rate of 100 per cent – with 56 out of 56 candidates who submitted entries achieving success.

This is the first time there has been a 100 per cent pass rate for a number of years. Examiners said: “Candidates appear to have grasped the essentials with no major problems faced by the markers. Key tasks which have proved problematical such as numeracy and major incidents were completed with no issues.”

The first National Qualification in Journalism will take place in March 2013 and the enrolment form will be on the website in the New Year.