NCTJ distance learning Q&A: Chloe West, Rotherham Advertiser

Chloe West is senior reporter at the Rotherham Advertiser. After studying on a non-accredited BA course, Chloe found that many employers were asking for an NCTJ qualification as a prerequisite. Chloe secured her first job in journalism at JPIMedia on the proviso that she attained the diploma whilst working. The NCTJ’s distance learning option allowed her to do so. 

We spoke to Chloe for our journalism careers guide, published in September. Read our Q&A below.

Tell us about your job, what does a typical day entail?

I am predominately the health reporter but I also do day-to-day stories on police, fire and human-interest stories. It’s a mix of office reporting and getting out on my patch.

Why did you choose to do distance learning?

I originally studied journalism at the University of Lincoln but the course didn’t include an NCTJ qualification at the time. I didn’t realise how important it was to have this in the industry until after I graduated and tried to find a job.

Luckily though, I was able to find employment at my local newspaper, Louth & Mablethorpe Leader, on the condition that I got the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism alongside my job.

So, from then, I had to try to study in my own time in-between working full-time at the Leader.

How did you find distance learning?

It was extremely challenging, trying to do it alongside a full-time job.

There were moments where I thought I was never going to get there, but I was so determined that I wasn’t going to give up on it.

How has it prepared you for your career?

It was really interesting and a valuable thing to go through because I could constantly apply it to my job.

The shorthand was very, very useful. Everyone asks whether shorthand should be relaxed these days but I still think it’s as paramount as ever to get your shorthand.

Media law is also extremely important because I find I have to keep it in mind for so many stories on my busy news patch.


Distance learning is a flexible way to study journalism from home, and is great for those who need to work their studies around other commitments or those who cannot study on an accredited course. Find out more about the NCTJ's distance learning options here.