A talented NCTJ-trained journalist from the Shields Gazette has been presented with a prestigious journalism award at the North East Press Awards in Sunderland.
Crime reporter Paul Clifford was awarded the Eric Dobson Scroll for the best-performing NCE (National Certificate Examination) in the North East.
Paul completed his preliminary training at Press Association and has worked at the Shields Gazette since 2009, becoming the crime reporter in October 2010. He said: "It's a real honour to land the Eric Dobson scroll.
"Anyone who has taken the NCE exams know how nerve-racking they are and I'd like to thank everyone at the Gazette for all their help in preparing me for them.
"The day itself is really tough but working hard in the run-up and staying calm on the day are key. After all, you're not expected to do anything you wouldn't do in your job every day.
"When I found out I'd passed the exams back in December it was a huge relief, so winning the scroll came as a big surprise - albeit a welcome one."
His editor, John Szymanski, added: “Congratulations to Paul. He thoroughly deserved the high marks for his hard work and dedication.”