Senior reporter scoops fifth NCTJ award of the year

A senior reporter has won an annual award for exceptional performance in the National Qualification for Journalism (NQJ), making it his fifth NCTJ award in a year.

Paul Berentzen, crime reporter at the Blackpool Gazette, was awarded the Pamela Meyrick Award for the best NQJ candidate of the year working on a newspaper in the north of England or north Wales.

This award is presented in memory of Pamela Meyrick, the first woman reporter on the Rochdale Observer from 1944 to 1948.

Previously, Paul scored a hat trick in the July NQJ exam sitting when he won three out of the four prizes available for performance in the NQJ exams. He won the Ted Bottomley Award for media law and practice, the Esso Award for his news report, and the Society of Editors’ Award for his news interview.

In November, Paul was presented with the NCTJ trainee of the year award as part of the Awards for Excellence sponsored by NFL UK.

Paul said: "I was delighted to hear I had won this award. It was unexpected but a very welcome early Christmas present.

"It is good to see all the hard work put in by journalists is still being recognised."

Before joining the Blackpool Gazette, Paul studied completed his preliminary qualification at News Associates in Manchester.

The NQJ is the professional senior qualification offered by the NCTJ that examines all-round competence in a range of fundamental skills.