Talented trainee wins prestigious award

A talented trainee reporter who completed the NCTJ accredited MA in Journalism at Brunel University just a few months ago, has received a prestigious award.

Jamie Brooks, who is currently working towards his NCE with The Chard and Ilminster News was named as the recipient of Newsquest Somerset’s Young Reporter of the Year Award, despite only joining the paper in July 2010.

He was presented with the Leanne Gibbons Rose Bowl – an award which is presented each year in memory of Leanne, a reporter who worked for the News’ sister paper the Somerset County Gazette, and who tragically died in 2005 at the age of just 23.

Jamie, who grew up in the local area, was presented with the Rose Bowl by Leanne’s parents Cedric and Lesley Gibbons. Speaking about his time with the News and winning the award he said: “I have really enjoyed my first six months at the News. The award was a total surprise and a big honour.”

He was nominated for the award by News chief reporter Steve Sowden who was full of praise for the reporter saying: “Jamie’s enthusiasm for the job since he started in July is fantastic – no task is too much trouble for him.”

Editor-in-chief, Ken Bird, also congratulated the reporter on his excellent first six months at the News: “Jamie has made an impressive start to his journalism career and long may it continue,” he said.

 Speaking about his training Jamie said: “I would not have got to where I am now without the NCTJ. The qualifications and training I received in shorthand, media law and public affairs allowed me to get my foot in the door at what is a difficult time in the job market.”

“The MA course at Brunel University was really forward thinking in providing additional skills, such as search engine optimisation and using Twitter to find stories - which are now coming in handy.”

“Last year I was the NCTJ course rep for Brunel University. Heading to the Guardian for a day was a great experience - hearing what editors look for in job applicants really helped me when it came to looking for jobs.”

Dr Sarah Niblock, head of journalism at Brunel University paid tribute to Jamie, saying: "I am incredibly proud and thrilled for Jamie, and everyone at Brunel sends their congratulations. Jamie's always shown an unswerving commitment to the highest standards of reporting and did brilliantly on the course. Achieving this award so early in his career indicates he has a fantastic future in journalism."

Photo: Chard and Ilminster News and Mid Devon Star