Distance learner is Archant Newcomer of the Year

A trainee reporter who completed her NCTJ training via distance learning has won the Newcomer of the Year accolade at her newspaper company’s annual awards.

Emma Youle, 30, joined Archant London in October 2007, working on the Journal titles, and began her NCTJ distance learning course in a few weeks later.
After just a year on the job, she found herself winning the company’s regional Newcomer of the Year award – and then last week she scooped the company-wide title.
She said: “I was over the moon, I couldn’t believe it. Winning regionally was wonderful enough but to win overall was just so amazing.”
Emma completed a degree in English at King’s College London and then worked in recruitment for a number of years before deciding journalism was what she wanted to do. She completed an MA in journalism at Westminster University, a course which does not carry NCTJ accreditation.
“I was doing work experience while on the MA and all the editors I spoke to said I’d need the NCTJ qualification to get a job. Luckily, as I finished my course, a position came up where I’d been doing work experience, and the editor was happy to hire me.”
Within weeks of starting her job, Emma had signed up for the NCTJ distance learning course, and dedicated herself to its study. She completed the course in just five months and passed all her preliminary exams with flying colours in May 2008.
“It was daunting at first, there are so many books to read, but it was great working at the same time, putting into practice what I was learning in the evenings,” she said.

“I have loved being a reporter so far. It was definitely worth the hard work.”

Covering the Haringay and Tottenham area of London, Emma says she has a good variety of stories to cover. She’s worked on the Baby P case, met David Cameron and is enjoying getting to know the community there.

Emma’s top tips to succeed in distance learning:

· Plan your time carefully – if you only have evenings and weekends to complete the course, be realistic about what you can achieve

·Make a timetable of what you hope to achieve, by when

· Give yourself deadlines

· Make index cards to remind you of key phrases / quotes in the set texts.