Celebrations for NCE award-winners

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

Emma Preston from the North West Evening Mail won the Ted Bottomley Award, sponsored by Midland News Association for her newspaper practice exam.

The examiners praised Emma’s paper, saying: “Her part A answer had no grey areas and not only did she cover all the points correctly, she also explained them in a logical and easy-to-follow way. In part B, examiners are looking for answers that have depth and breadth and Emma covered these with comprehensive ideas that would have translated into workable news stories and features in a real situation. Her social media suggestions were good and she showed an awareness of how to link them to the newspaper.”

Emma, who completed her Diploma in Journalism at Liverpool Community College, said: “I am absolutely amazed to hear I've won this award. I started today so nervous that I was thrilled even to have passed the exams - so this really is, apologies for using such a well-worn cliché, the icing on the cake.

"I'm extremely honoured and very grateful."

Megan French, who trained at the University of Sheffield and now works at the Braintree and Witham Times, won the Esso Award for her performance in the news report.

The examiners said: “Megan produced a concise logical report which demonstrated a clear understanding of the subject. Her accurate shorthand and good news sense enabled her to include three of the best quotes in an easy to read story.”

Megan said: “The award came as a huge surprise as I was just so happy to have passed the NCE.

“I had a lot of support and training from my colleagues and would like to thank them all for their help. I am looking forward to carrying on as a senior reporter and all the new challenges it will bring.”

Dan Bloom of the Medway Messenger, won the Society of Editors’ Award for his news interview.

He was commended by the examiners, who said: “Dan captured the drama well in his story. There was plenty of "must have" detail. His intro was dramatic and led the reader in, with a strong second paragraph to keep the reader's attention. The rest was a well structured story with a good chronology and a excellent use of language. Dan précised the story very well and produced a very good piece of work.”

Dan, who studied at Cardiff University, said: “I’m surprised and very honoured. Thanks to everyone I work with for keeping me focused and giving me tips – I guess the drinks are on me for a while!”

Finally, Daniel John Sanderson of the Scarborough Evening News received the Newsquest Award for his logbook.

The examiners praised his work, saying: “The logbook submitted by Daniel Sanderson is a true award winner as it is one of the best yet seen by the marking team. Each story proved to be an impressive and engaging read and the work was clearly merited highly and well valued by the Scarborough Evening News. So strong is this submission that a number of the key tasks may well be used to show students just what is expected as the stories are written with clarity and clearly fill the brief. Presentation was also very strong with this logbook, indeed there was no area where this work proved any less than excellent.”

Daniel said: "I'm delighted and relieved to have passed the NCE. It's a challenging day and it's nice to think I'll never have to take another exam. To receive the award for the best logbook is a wonderful bonus and something I never expected.

"I would like to say thank you to everyone in Scarborough who showed me the ropes when I started and helped me through my training period."

Daniel had previously completed his preliminary training at Darlington College. 

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