Karen Ballam, NCTJ chief examiner for shorthand, has been honoured for her outstanding contribution to journalism training and education with the NCTJ chairman’s award.
Karen has taught shorthand at Bournemouth University since 1998. She has been a member of the NCTJ’s shorthand examinations board for many years and was appointed chief examiner in 2015.
Kim Fletcher, chairman of the NCTJ, presented the award to Karen at the Awards for Excellence ceremony, sponsored by News UK, today.
Kim said: “When the serious nature of this pandemic became clear, the indomitable team at the NCTJ, in the space of just a few weeks, did a remarkable job adapting our qualifications to a virtual world.
“Karen had the biggest challenge of all to make this a reality for hundreds of students sitting their shorthand exams. She has been instrumental in overcoming the risks, difficulties and complexities of adapting the exams for home delivery.
“Karen always has her eye on the detail, smiles through the problems to find solutions, and has never once complained about the extra work caused by exam queries, incidents and attempts at malpractice.
“Alongside her work for us, she is a brilliant tutor at Bournemouth University, nominated for this award by her students and her colleagues, who all testify to her kindness, compassion, professionalism and support.
Kim added: “It is a pleasure this year to recognise Karen Ballam for her outstanding commitment to high standards of shorthand education, training and assessments and her direct impact on the careers of thousands of journalists.”
Mark Hanna, winner of last year’s chairman’s award, was also honoured at the event, with Kim Fletcher citing “unfinished business from last year’s brilliant virtual ceremony.”
Mark, who recently stepped down as NCTJ chief examiner for media law and regulation, was invited to the stage to accept a rare first edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists, which he continues to edit.