Joe Watts is a political correspondent for the London Evening Standard.
He graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2004 with a PgDip in Newspaper Journalism, which included his NCTJ qualifications.
Joe then became a trainee at the Nottingham Evening Post, moved up to be a Westminster correspondent for Northcliffe, became political editor of the Eastern Daily Press and finally moved to the Evening Standard.
He said: “NCTJs have been instrumental to my career up to now. I wouldn’t have got my first job without them, despite already having a fair bit of experience in newsrooms.
“I wouldn’t have safely been able to report any court case or story concerning legal proceedings, or covered anything where you’re required to take a cast iron note of what a person has said in passing.
“In most cases the knowledge gained from NCTJs is the difference between someone who is going to be a serious news journalist and someone who simply fancies doing some journalism.
“The qualifications give you a brilliant grounding in story formation and writing, but also the things that most newspaper editors demand – shorthand and a working legal knowledge. So accustomed am I to writing in shorthand now, that I actually never write in long hand anymore. It drives my family insane when they try and read notes around the house.
“More than that it trains you into thinking like a hack – to spot those little comments or facts most people miss, but that can become a great top line.”