Trainee wins two prestigious awards

A NCTJ trainee who only began her career a little over a year ago has won not one but two regional industry awards.

Tara Russell, a trainee reporter at the Southern Daily Echo, took home the awards for both Newcomer of the Year and Daily Print Journalist of the Year at the EDF Energy London and South of England Media Awards 2010. Tara successfully completed the NCTJ Certificate in Journalism in 2009 at Cardiff University and is now studying for her NCE qualification, which she is due to sit next year.

The annual competition covers 20 separate categories and there were a total of 346 entries. Although Tara only entered the Newcomer category originally, the judges were so impressed with her work that they shortlisted her for the Daily Print Journalist category too.

Following the awards ceremony, which took place at Lingfield Park racecourse in Surrey on 21 October, Tara commented: "I was absolutely over the moon to take home both awards. I felt honoured to be shortlisted alongside very talented journalists and to win was just amazing. When they called my name out I couldn't quite believe it." 

As further demonstration of her hard work and talent, Tara has also been shortlisted in the news reporter category at the NCTJ Awards for Excellence. The winners will receive their awards at the Society of Editors Conference in Glasgow on 15 November, following a presentation from NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher about journalists for the future.

Like many other successful journalists, Tara studied for her NCTJ Certificate in Journalism at Cardiff University, which recently celebrated 40 years of providing leading journalism training by hosting the Tomorrow’s Journalists Conference and celebratory dinner on 15 October.

Over the years, the journalism school has built up an impressive alumni of successful journalists that provide great inspiration for current learners. Some of these alumni, including Alan Edmunds, editor of the Western Mail and publishing director of Media Wales, Ben Brown from BBC News and Alex Thomson of Channel Four News returned to help celebrate the milestone birthday and took part in discussion and debate at the conference. The NCTJ’s Chairman, Kim Fletcher, is also a member of Cardiff University’s alumni.

Richard Tait Director Cardiff Centre for Journalism, said: “I am delighted that Tara's work and talent has been recognised. We believe in giving our students the professional training which will not only get them that first job, but equip them to make real progress in their careers. The fact that Tara is following in the footsteps of so many successful alumni shows that our NCTJ-accredited postgraduate diploma remains the one of the very best ways into a successful career in newspapers for the really ambitious.”

Photo courtesy of Nigel Bowles, John Connor Press Associates.