Former community news reporter named top-performing trainee at NCTJ’s Awards for Excellence

Megan Howe was presented with the trainee of the year award, sponsored by Alder Media.

A former community news reporter has been named the trainee of the year at the NCTJ’s Awards for Excellence ceremony today.  

Megan Howe was presented with the award, sponsored by Alder Media, because she achieved the highest marks out of all the journalists who completed the NCTJ’s National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ) during the 2022/23 academic year.  

Megan earned a distinction in all three NQJ assessments.  

She was a community news reporter at the Shropshire Star, studying for her NCTJ diploma at Darlington College, then for her NQJ with Midland News Association training manager, Crispin Clark. 

In November last year, Megan became a news reporter at the MailOnline. 

Will Gore, head of partnerships and projects at the NCTJ, said: “Megan was a brilliant community news reporter from the very beginning of her time with the Shropshire Star.

“She achieved the rare feat of achieving the gold standard in her Diploma in Journalism and a distinction in every element of the NQJ, all within two years – as well as proving herself a terrific asset in the newsroom.

“Her onward career success comes as no surprise and it’s fantastic to know that the Community News Project is, thanks to the hard work and talent of reporters such as Megan, creating a lasting legacy.”  

The Community News Project is a partnership between the NCTJ, Meta and regional news publishers to improve the diversity of UK newsrooms and support the coverage of underserved communities. 

There were three other high-flying journalists on the trainee of the year shortlist, including William Payne, who trained at TTG Media; Victoria Finan of the Yorkshire Post; and Jacob Panons, who was a trainee at the Eastbourne Herald 

The trainee of the year award was one of 21 presented at the NCTJ’s Awards for Excellence 2023 ceremony today, which was sponsored by News UK and hosted by John Pienaar, Times Radio presenter. 

It took place at the Royal College of Physicians at Regent’s Park in London today, with some 200 journalists, students and educators in attendance. 

Alongside the winners, more than 40 named on the shortlist were highly commended or commended for their work as well.  

View a full list of all the Awards for Excellence’s winners, highly commended and commended – and their shortlisted entries – here 

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