NCE Prize winners announced

Four trainee reporters have been recognised for their exceptional performances in November’s National Certificate Examination – earning each of them a £250 prize.

Ruth Mansfield, 24, of the South Wales Argus, who did the NCTJ course at Cardiff University led the way in the news interview section. Her punchy intro set the scene for a good, solid human interest story, in the eyes of the examiners. This, coupled with good, accurate quotes and clean copy, earned her the Society of Editors’ award.

“I wasn't sure how it had gone on the day so I am surprised but really pleased. I have been able to interview a wide range of people on a variety of subjects at the South Wales Argus which has provided me with some excellent training for which I am very grateful," Ruth said.

In the news report section, it was Ryan Hooper, 25, of the Western Morning News, who stole the show. The examiners were impressed with how Ryan confidently blended the speech with important points from the background material and said his work made you “feel safe in this reporter’s hands”.

Ryan, winner of the Esso Award, was delighted to hear his preparation and hard work paid off and gave his thanks to a number of influential figures. “Without the advice of mentor David Scott, and the inspirational words of my former lecturers at Bournemouth University which will live long in the memory, I would certainly not have fared so well."

Max Orbach, 28, reporter for the Evening Echo, Basildon, provided a textbook example of how to tackle the newspaper practice exam, and his comprehensive answer – citing relevant cases and law – saw him achieve one of the highest scores in recent years to claim the Ted Bottomley Award, sponsored by the Midland News Association.

Max spoke of his surprise upon discovering he’d topped the charts and gave special thanks to the training provided by the Echo. “It seems I’m more familiar with McNae than I ever thought,” he said. Max was on the same NCTJ course as Ruth Mansfield at Cardiff University.

And finally, Sheena Campbell’s logbook – which examiners said was a good example of how solid journalism should be presented – won her the Newsquest Award. Sheena, 25, a journalist at the Worthing Herald and graduate of the NCTJ course at the University of Sheffield, said: “It was a complete shock when I found out I had won the Newsquest Award for my logbook.

“I was so relieved to pass my NCE first time and this was just an added bonus. To win the prize for the logbook was particularly great as it contains all the work I am proud of from my two years at the paper.”