Two awards for Westmorland Gazette journalist

Hannah Upton of the Westmorland Gazette is celebrating today after not only passing her National Certificate Examination to become a senior journalist, but also winning two awards for her outstanding performance in the exams.

Hannah won the Esso Award for her news report and the Newsquest Award for her logbook. Commending her news report the examiners said: “Hannah covered all the key points well and with suitable urgency as warranted by the situation. She used a good blend of background and speech, enhanced by three well-chosen, accurate quotes.”

They also complimented her logbook saying: “Hannah’s submissions are not just good stories but are well-written and engaging. Good presentation and lots of thought went into all submissions. The logbook had very strong human interest and features tasks which show the strength and depth of this award winner.”

Hannah, who completed the NCTJ-accredited MA journalism course at the University of Central Lancashire said: “I am absolutely gobsmacked to win these two awards. I moved from East Lancashire Newspapers with Johnston Press to Kendal with Newsquest a couple of months before sitting the NCE and would have been delighted just to pass. I was helped a lot by my former and present trainers and colleagues, especially everyone involved with the Newsquest Refresher in York.

“I’m sure hearing the calm voice of my former shorthand tutor Pat Brand at the University of Central Lancashire helped me through the News Report exam.”

Also celebrating today are Benjamin Woods from the Eastern Daily Press, who won the Ted Bottomley Award for his newspaper practice exam, and Thomas Jennings from the Oxford Mail, who won the Society of Editors’ Award for his news interview exam.

Benjamin, who studied at Press Association Training, Newcastle, was praised by the examiners who said: “Benjamin followed up a strong law answer with two good Part B answers which were both realistic in their approach and had a well-worked out strategy for both newspaper and digital coverage. He was a worthy winner.”

Benjamin said: "Passing the NCE and winning this award has been an incredible moment for me. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the patience and wise words of everyone who has helped me at the Eastern Daily Press."

 Thomas Jennings completed his training at Warwickshire College before joining the Oxford Mail. The examiners said: “Thomas’ story had a good intro and then an easy chronology which took the reader through the drama of the story. His copy was clean and accurate. He used good, strong quotes well which added to the pace.”

A shocked Thomas added: “I am obviously delighted with this!”

All four winners receive a cheque for £250 courtesy of sponsors Esso, Midland News Association, Newsquest and the Society of Editors.


The full results from the July 2012 NCE for reporters have been published today, with 42 journalists achieving senior status. The exam was sat on Friday, 6 July by 100 people across eight centres – 53 for the first time and 47 re-sitting. The overall pass rate was 42 per cent.

Four sub-editors sat the NCE, three of whom passed while two sports reporters also took the exam but neither passed. 

The next National Certificate Examination will take place in November 2012 and enrolment details will be on the NCTJ website later this month.