The third NCE for sports reporters saw two more trainee reporters achieve senior status in the new qualification – a pass rate of 100 per cent.
Lee Jones, a reporter for the Grimsby Telegraph, and Stephen Pickthall of the West Sussex County Times have now passed all four sections of the exam: sports interview; sports report; newspaper practice for sports reporters; and sports logbook. They sat the exam on Friday, 5 November in Swindon.
The topical sports interview section reflected the previous month’s Commonwealth Games in India, and a local man’s bronze medal in the discus throwing. Candidates had to demonstrate the ability to interview a sporting figure, follow-up leads and produce accurate and well-written copy.
The sports report paper centred on a fictitious press conference from England Rugby coach, Martin Johnson, following a match defeat and the banning of an All Blacks player for 12 matches. Candidates were required to report the speech accurately and write a balanced report, using additional material including a press release and Twitter feed.
The examiners said the papers were “very well-presented, flowing pieces of copy with strong, detailed quotes.”
The newspaper practice exam required candidates to answer one media law question and two follow-up questions. They have to demonstrate that they are conversant with day-to-day newspaper practice and have a sound working knowledge of practical journalism.
The law questions offered a variety of scenarios including accusations of drug taking by world champions from a former gymnast, the implications of obtaining an x-ray of an injured football player, and the use of photographs of real footballers for a fantasy game.
The practice questions were a campaign for a new Olympic-sized swimming pool, overcoming the banning of the local paper by a football club and dealing with the coverage of minority sports in limited space.
The chief examiner said that there were “some well-thought-out answers for the law question and clear strategies laid out in the practice questions, built on previous experience.”
The final section of the NCE for sports reporters is the logbook, with 18 sections that test the various facets of a sports reporter’s training. This record demonstrates that candidates have covered a wide range of sports desk duties, including live match reports, previews, reviews and features writing.
The chief examiner said: “Both logbooks were of a high quality and compiled neatly with each of the 18 sections completed satisfactorily.”