NCTJ graduate wins Weekly Reporter of the Year at Midlands Media Awards 2013

An NCTJ-trained Staffordshire University journalism student has scooped “Weekly Reporter of the Year” at the Midlands Media Awards 2013.

Sam Morris, who graduated from BA (Hons) Journalism in July 2011, was honoured at the Birmingham Press Club event at Villa Park last week (June 13).

Sam, who joined the Lincolnshire Echo as a trainee just over a year ago, has made a massive impact in his short time.

The 23-year-old, from Shropshire, was also recently shortlisted in the Press Gazette Regional Press Awards in the Weekly Reporter category.

He has secured a series of exclusives in his first 12 months, including a lead on the Jimmy Savile story which made national headlines.

Sam said: “The course at Staffordshire couldn't be more ideally suited to the industry. Key skills like Shorthand, Law and Public Affairs are taught by excellent lecturers in dynamic ways. 

“Multimedia newsrooms provide incredibly realistic environments to hone skills and experience. 

“All training and advice is given on NCTJ exams, which students should consider if serious about journalism. It really helped me get my job at Lincolnshire Echo.”

He was one of several successes for Staffordshire University, which also runs an NCTJ-accredited MA Journalism award, and was the first to validate an NCTJ-accredited two-year fast track journalism degree.

Four current students – Paul Creeney, Charlotte Cross, Adreen Hart-Rule and Noel Phillips -  were shortlisted in the “Newcomer/Student Journalist of the Year” category at the Midlands Media Awards, the only university to make the shortlist.

And Paul was highly commended (runner-up) for his excellent feature work on the course’s live online portal StaffsLive

Course leader Pete Leydon, who attended the awards, said: “It was another great night for Staffordshire - and a testimony to the importance of the NCTJ and its training regime.

“Sam passed all seven of his NCTJ diploma elements while studying with us, and was soon recruited into the industry.

“Current students working on StaffsLive are clearly gaining recognition from the industry because of the fabulous content they are producing to professional standards.”