NCE for sports reporters on the starting blocks

Interest is growing in a new NCTJ qualification, the National Certificate Examination for sports reporters which is now open for registrations from trainee journalists.

Trainees are able to take the exam for the first time in March if they have at least 18 months’ experience and have completed a logbook. Those who are already registered to sit the NCE for reporters in March are welcome to transfer across to the new qualification.

The qualification has been designed by the NCTJ in response to the growing number of trainee journalists who are joining sports desks sooner than in the past, many while still trainees.

Dave King, NCTJ chief examiner in sports journalism and editor of the Swindon Advertiser, has led the development of the new qualification.

Dave, who was previously sports editor at both The News, Portsmouth, and the Southern Daily Echo in Southampton, said: “The new NCE for sports reporters has a very important part to play in the training of journalists. It is about raising and maintaining standards for an area of journalism which has changed more than most in recent years.

“When I started out as a sports reporter, you rarely dealt with the business end of sport and there was less scrutiny of what happened off-the-field. Now it is expected for sports reporters to be as comfortable in the press box producing live copy from a match for a newspaper or website, as they might be attending the annual meeting of shareholders at the town's football club.

“Sports editors expect their reporters to have reached this level of competency by the time of their NCE, and so the three-part examination, as well as the 18-part logbook, is an opportunity for trainees to demonstrate that they have reached that standard.”

The new qualification mirrors the long-established NCE for reporters, consisting of sports report, sports interview, a logbook of published sports copy and newspaper practice for sports reporters.