A newly qualified senior journalist achieved the best National Certificate Examination (NCE) result for five years, since the logbook was first assessed as part of the qualification.
Vicky Carr, a reporter on the Harrogate Advertiser and Wetherby News, gained an overall score of 305 marks when she sat the NCTJ’s National Certificate Examination on Friday 3rd July, 2009.
This result is the highest mark ever achieved in the current structure of the NCE, which dates to when the logbook section of the qualification was first assessed in 2004.
Vicky, who completed her preliminary training at Sheffield College, was shortlisted for three of the four NCE awards, one of which she won, the Ted Bottomley Award for the newspaper practice exam, sponsored by the Midland News Association.
Vicky said: “I’m absolutely delighted, I’m really pleased with the result because it was so hard on the day.
“I honestly had no idea I had done so well. As I walked out of the exam centre I didn’t think it had been a disaster, but I had no idea whether I had passed or not.”
Speaking about her preparation for the NCE, Vicky said: “The Advertiser sent me on legal refresher courses, which were very useful, but without interviewing people and using shorthand for the past two years I would never have passed.”
Tom Hay, news editor of the Harrogate Advertiser, said: “Ever since she started here Vicky has been a very good reporter.
“She can do practically anything that has been asked of her: features, hard news, she’s also done some news editing, looking after one of our smaller papers.”
He added: “I’m pleasantly surprised, but in a way, I’m not surprised, because Vicky works hard at everything and I think she’ll have worked a lot harder for the NCE than she will have let on.”
Vicky was joined in her success by three other newly qualified senior journalists who won awards for different NCE papers.
The Society of Editors’ award for the news interview went to Andrew Brookes of the Lincolnshire Free Press & Spalding Guardian.
Speaking of Andrew’s achievement the chief examiner said: “What a cracking story! It’s pacy, dramatic, balanced, well structured and, of course, accurate.”
The winner of the Esso Award for the news report was Lucy Tatchell of the Worcester News.
The chief examiner said: “A sound summary of the salient points from the speech and the brief. Lucy presented it in a logical and easy to read structure that was enhanced by a selection of good accurate quotes and historical background.”
The Newsquest Award for best logbook was secured by Caroline Abbott of the Express & Echo, Exeter.
The chief examiner said: “The winning logbook showed both solid writing on a number of key tasks but also excellent presentation. Stand-out tasks included family events, calls and human interest while the major incidents treated high profile stories with a thorough and factual approach.”
Andrew completed his preliminary training at De Montfort University, Leicester; Caroline at West Kent College; and Lucy trained at Cardiff University.
All four winners will receive £250 from the relevant sponsor for their excellent performances.