Founding professor of journalism at the University of Essex wins NCTJ chairman's award 2018

Jonathan Baker, founding professor of journalism at the University of Essex, has been honoured for his outstanding contribution to journalism training and education with the 2019 NCTJ chairman’s award.

Kim Fletcher, chairman of the NCTJ, presented the award to Jonathan at the Awards for Excellence gala dinner at Quendon Hall in Essex on Thursday, 29 November.

Speaking at the ceremony, Kim Fletcher said: “Jonathan’s professionalism, high standards and commitment to excellence in journalism, and journalism education and training, is an inspiration to us all.

“Like many previous recipients of my award, Jonathan is proud to be NCTJ trained and qualified, starting as a graduate trainee on the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo and winning the NCTJ award for the best candidate in the north of England.”

He left newspapers to start a long and successful career at the BBC.

Jonathan is first and foremost an outstanding news journalist and editor. Exuding calm and good humour, he produced outstanding programmes for both television and radio news, leading his teams with unflappable common sense and a healthy sense of fun.

After a long and successful career at the sharp end of live programme making, Jonathan went on to lead the BBC’s College of Journalism, in charge of meeting the training needs of thousands of journalists.

He remained an influential voice across BBC News until he left the corporation in 2014.

On being appointed to launch a multimedia journalism degree at the University of Essex, Jonathan worked from the start to ensure that the new course met the requirements for NCTJ accreditation.

He has shown a consistent commitment to giving students the best possible grounding in what it takes to find and tell great stories. The strong foundations Jonathan has put in place will continue to benefit future generations of students in the years ahead.

Jonathan stepped down in the summer having achieved his ambitions for journalism at the university. We know he will continue to find new ways to offer his knowledge and experience to help the cause of journalism training.

Also honoured at the ceremony was Abbie Scott, deputy managing editor of the Financial Times, who was presented with the equality, diversity and inclusion award.

Brand new for this year, Abbie won the award for creating long-term sustainable change at the FT by setting up a paid internship scheme for student journalists, giving journalists from under-represented backgrounds the opportunity to work in the FT newsroom.

Speaking at the ceremony, awards host Sarah Hewson, Sky News presenter, said: “The judges were particularly impressed with her continued contact with interns beyond their time at the FT, showing ongoing dedication and commitment to diversity in journalism.”