Award-winning reporters celebrate NCE results

Four newly-qualified senior reporters are celebrating after winning awards for exceptional performance in the November National Certificate Examination.

Lauren Potts from the Pontefract & Castleford Express won the Ted Bottomley Award, sponsored by Midland News Association, for her newspaper practice exam. She also received the Pamela Meyrick Award for the best NCE candidate working for a newspaper in the North of England or North Wales in the 2012 National Certificate Examination for Reporters.

The examiners said that Lauren’s paper “had the all-round edge”. They added: “The law answer was excellent, showing good knowledge and application. Her part B answers were consistent with sensible sources and questions that would have produced good coverage for all media.”

Lauren, who completed her prelims at News Associates, Manchester, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled. I wasecstatic just to learn that I had passed the exam, so to win two awards as well is an incredible feeling."

Benjamin O’Connell, who trained at the University of Sunderland and now works at the Northumberland Gazette, won the Esso Award for his performance in the news report. 

The examiners praised Benjamin’s paper, saying it was “a very thorough report with excellent choice of detail, good accurate quotes and written in a bright lively style.”

Ben said: “I'm delighted to win the award, especially as I came away from the exam feeling particularly worried about the news report. Shows how much I know! Plus the prize will come in handy over the festive period.”

Reading Chronicle reporter, Tessa Watkins, won the Society of Editors’ Award for her news interview.

The examiners said: “Tessa's story was pacy and accurate and captured the drama of the shopping mall explosion. She covered all aspects of the story, from her strong intro which set the scene, and progressed through the good chronology.

“Her story flowed and was readable from start to finish. The panel was pleased with Tessa's use of language and excellent level of detail.” 

Tessa, a Bournemouth University graduate, said: “I’m still in shock, I can’t quite believe it but I’m absolutely thrilled. It was a challenging day overall, and in terms of the news feature, it was quite a dramatic incident that took place. It was good that it was the last task of the day so I had time to gather my thoughts and focus on the job.

“I’m really looking forward to continuing as a senior reporter at The Chronicle and building on my experience there.”

Finally, Sam Bannister of the The News, Portsmouth received the Newsquest Award for his logbook. He won the award in a year where all 56 candidates passed the logbook element of the National Certificate Examination.

The examiners praised his work, saying he was a deserving winner. They added: “Presentation of this logbook was excellent and the content superb, a real example to those preparing to submit their own work. Among the impressive key tasks was a fascinating news backgrounder and strong submissions for writing to pictures and family events.”

Sam, who completed his preliminary training at Highbury College, said: “Passing the NCE made my Christmas, but winning this award has gone and made my New Year as well. Having the best logbook is something I never expected and I'm thrilled.

“I owe a lot to my colleagues and trainers both at The News and Johnston Press.”

All the award winners receive a cheque for £250 and a certificate of achievement.