Andy Cooper is editor-in-chief at Cornwall and Devon Media Ltd and also editor of the North Devon Journal.
Andy completed his NCTJ training at Harlow College while working at the Harborough Mail. Following this, he worked as a reporter on a number of newspapers including the Melton Times and Bury Free Press before becoming assistant editor at the Diss Express in 1991. He also worked at the Colchester Evening Gazette and then in 1995 took up the position of editor at the Brentwood Gazette before moving to Devon.
Andy was editor of the North Devon Journal from 1997 to 2005, before becoming editor-in-chief at Cornwall and Devon Media Ltd. In 2009 he returned to the Journal while remaining in his other role.
Speaking about his training Andy said: “My NCTJ training was intensive, practical and comprehensive and gave me the tools I needed to start my career in journalism. The lecturers at Harlow College taught me a series of skills which I am still using to this day, 26 years after gaining my pre-entry certificate. Passing my Proficiency Test (now the NCE) was a good test of how I had used my skills in my first job as a trainee reporter and was the springboard for me developing my career further.”
He also referred to the importance of studying shorthand, public affairs and media law: “Every story I have ever written or edited needed knowledge of one of these subject areas – often all three! They remain the core skills which any aspiring journalist should be proficient in. You can be the best writer in the world, but if you don’t have these skills and apply them properly then you – and the publication you work for – are in trouble.
“The core skills I learned all those years ago at Harlow College are as vital today as they ever were. NCTJ training brings a clarity and logic to one’s work and provides the confidence to write stories accurately and with the reader in mind.”
As well as valuing his own qualifications, as an employer, Andy believes it’s still important for journalism students to undertake NCTJ training, commenting: “The NCTJ is still the industry standard. Our newspapers insist on an NCTJ pre-entry qualification before we even consider a trainee reporter candidate for interview. We know and trust the value of the qualification and we expect all our reporters to have undergone pre-entry training and to go on and pass their NCE with our support.”