Outstanding student, trainee and apprentice journalists celebrated at NCTJ Awards for Excellence 2019

Student, trainee and apprentice journalists have been honoured in this year’s NCTJ Awards for Excellence, sponsored by The Independent.

A record-breaking 395 entries were received across 15 categories, in addition to the 1,416 students, trainees and apprentices eligible for three performance awards.

The ceremony, which took place at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland on Thursday, 28 November, was hosted by Dharmesh Sheth, Sky Sports News presenter.

Addressing the shortlisted entrants, he said: “When I look around the room, I feel honoured, inspired and a little bit envious.

“I’m honoured to be among such a group of talented people, inspired that I know the future of journalism is in such good hands, and envious of the amazing journey you have ahead of you.”

He added: “You have the best head start on anyone else, you have this most amazing qualification from the NCTJ.”

Michael Owens, editor of Independent Premium, presented the winners with certificates. The categories included news, sports, features, top scoop, multimedia story/campaign and student project of the year.

Performance awards were also given to the best-performing apprentice, student and trainee journalists in the 2018-19 academic year.

Apprentice of the year is awarded following nominations from employers and trainers, and this year the judges praised the extremely high standard of entries. The award went to Yohannes Lowe, who recently completed his apprenticeship with The Telegraph and PA Training. Yohannes was described by his editor as a ‘brilliant’ apprentice who ‘thrives in a busy newsroom and accepts every challenge with enthusiasm and professionalism.”

Yohannes received a cheque for £500 from award sponsor Mark Allen Group.

This year’s student journalist of the year is Jessica Murray, who studied at The University of Sheffield. Jessica achieved the best overall diploma results with an impressive six As and shorthand at 100 words per minute. She is now reporting on the environment, science and health for The Guardian.

Jessica received a cheque for £500 from award sponsor Sunderland City Council.

Trainee journalist of the year was awarded to Rhoda Morrison from the Bury Free Press in Suffolk, where she has worked since October 2017 after completing an MA in print journalism at The University of Sheffield. Rhoda achieved the best overall results in the National Qualification in Journalism out of all the candidates sitting in the 2018-19 academic year. She achieved a distinction in all three assessments.

Rhoda received a cheque for £750 from award sponsor the Society of Editors.

The full list of winners and commendations, and links to all entries, can be found here.