Journalist, examiner, tutor and author receives NCTJ Chairman’s award for outstanding contribution to training

A journalist who worked on The Northern Echo and The Times, before becoming a legendary tutor on NCTJ accredited courses at Darlington College received the NCTJ Chairman’s award at the Journalism Skills Conference.

Kim Fletcher, NCTJ chairman, presented the prestigious award to Jon Smith, journalism trainer at Darlington College, NCTJ senior examiner and author of Essential Reporting: The NCTJ Guide for Trainee Journalists.

Receiving his award Jon thanked his colleagues at Darlington College, the NCTJ and the newspaper company Newsquest supporting him in his years of training journalists.

Jon said: “I want to thank the students themselves, there are some great kids out there and I admire the way they deal with the pressures they have to deal with, which I and others like me never did, on newspapers, with video and audio and the way they manage on their own in little offices with only a senior in the distance.

“I admire the way they cope with it and get their NCEs, I’m proud of them.”

Kim said: “Although reluctant to show it in a Northern sort of way, Jon is devoted to his students and trainees, and nothing gets in the way of his exacting standards and commitment to training.

“I know it is a cliché but it has been known for students to believe Jon walks on water and there are many among his journalistic and education colleagues who would agree.”

Alongside his award Jon was given a trip on the Orient Express as a gift from Newsquest and the NCTJ.

Jon is senior lecturer at Darlington College where he has worked for 21 years and retires this month. Darlington College’s journalism provision was established almost 40 years ago and has a national reputation for journalism training and a long association with the NCTJ.

Jon is also responsible for all Newsquest editorial training to NCE level and in 2002 the training partnership between Darlington College and Newsquest, which was developed by Jon, received national recognition when it won the prestigious Beacon Award for excellent results and quality delivery.