Top sports journalism students honoured

The three top NCTJ sports journalism students have been awarded prizes from The Football League for their outstanding exam performance. The awards were presented at the 2013 Student Council forum at MSN in London on 8 February

Tom Crocker won the first prize of the chance to report on the Championship play-offs, Liam Twomey was awarded second prize and will report on League One, while Ben Burrows won the third prize of reporting on League Two. All the match reports will be posted on The Football League’s website.

First prize winner Tom Crocker studied at Up to Speed Journalism Training in Bournemouth. Until recently he was chief match day reporter at AFC Bournemouth, writing match reports for their official website and interviewing staff and players for their online TV service, ‘Cherries Player’. He has also done some freelance work for the Reading Post covering Reading FC as well as regularly contributing to a number of online football blogs.

Liam Twomey completed his NCTJ training at News Associates in London before moving on to a full-time role as a senior sub-editor with Goal.com UK. In addition to his subbing responsibilities, Liam contributes regular features, news exclusives, live text commentaries, match reports and player ratings, as well as attending Premier League and England matches on behalf of the website and interviewing numerous high-profile figures in the game.

Third place award winner Ben Burrows studied at News Associates in Manchester and since qualifying in the summer has been freelancing. He has covered the London 2012 Olympic Games, amongst other events, and is currently working with Ladbrokes bookmakers as part of their social media team.

Rick Broadbent, sports journalism tutor at Up to Speed Journalism Training said: "Tom was one of those students at Up To Speed who needed minimal help with his writing. He has got a natural talent for crisp, clean and clear copy that would make him an asset to any sports desk. He has also had the gumption to go and get experience of the sporting world, working at AFC Bournemouth during a turbulent time in the club's history, and I am sure that combination of initiative and journalistic skill will hold him in good stead in the years ahead."

Richard Parsons, head of journalism at News Associates said: "Liam quickly caught the eye in sports journalism sessions with the quality of his work. Despite having natural ability, he listened to advice and improved with every session and, at the end of his studies, moved seamlessly into a job reporting on football.

"Ben arrived with an excellent knowledge and a passion for sport. He applied himself, put his hand up for every opportunity and was eventually able to take part in coverage of the Olympics."

Photograph: front-back Tom Crocker, Up to Speed Journalism Training: Liam Twomey, News Associates, London; Ben Burrows, News Associates, Manchester; Kim Fletcher, NCTJ chairman.
Photographer: Peter Summers, Up to Speed Journalism Training