NCTJ announces Awards for Excellence 2017 winners

Students, trainees and apprentices were honoured at the NCTJ Awards for Excellence gala dinner and ceremony at Hampton Court Palace on Thursday, 23 November.

Students, trainees and apprentices were honoured at the NCTJ Awards for Excellence gala dinner and ceremony at Hampton Court Palace on Thursday, 23 November.

An audience of 180 entrants, journalists and educators were in attendance at the awards dinner, which was hosted by Sky News presenter Sophy Ridge. 

A record-breaking number of entries were received for the various categories, with almost 300 submissions from top quality journalists representing a breadth of education and the media.

Addressing the shortlisted entrants, Ridge said: “Your place on the shortlist demonstrates the skills, determination and resilience needed to forge a successful career in journalism. Our thanks are due to the expert panel of judges who were thoroughly impressed by the quality of work submitted.

“Competition remains fierce to secure that vital first journalism job. But great opportunities are out there, and outstanding graduates from accredited courses are landing these jobs.”

NCTJ chairman Kim Fletcher presented the winners with certificates. The categories included news journalism, sports journalism, features, top scoop/exclusive, multimedia story/campaign and student project of the year.

Performance awards were given to the student journalist of the year and trainee journalist of the year who achieved the best results in their diploma and NQJ exams, respectively.

This year’s student journalist of the year is Anna Schaverien, who trained at News Associates London. Anna achieved the best ‘A’ grades in every Diploma in Journalism subject and reached 120wpm shorthand while on her course. She now works as an assistant producer at LBC as well as interning at the New York Times.

Trainee journalist of the year was awarded to Laura Drysdale of the Wakefield Express. Her path into journalism began at the newspaper when she was studying English at university. She achieved her gold standard diploma as a postgraduate student at the University of Sheffield before returning and passing her senior NQJ exams earlier this year, winning the award for the best media law exam performance.

Apprentice of the year was also awarded for the third year running following nominations from employers and trainers. The award was presented to Daniel Boswell, who was described by his employer, Sky Sports News, as an assured, versatile and talented journalist who can spot a good picture story and turn it into engaging content across different platforms.

Daniel’s tutor at UCFB Wembley, Roz McKenzie, noted how he has balanced the considerable demands of the job with a methodical approach to studying, achieving the gold standard diploma and 110wpm shorthand as well as a distinction in the apprenticeship assessments.

The full list of winners and commendations is as follows:

Student news journalism

Winner – Aaron Renfree, University of Lincoln

Highly commended – Isaan Khan, University of Central Lancashire

Commended – Garrick Alder, Kingston University

Trainee news journalism

Winner – Neil Athey, Lancashire Telegraph

Highly commended – Samar Maguire, Cambridge News

Commended – Joe Middleton, Kent and Sussex Courier


Student sports journalism

Winner – Mats Fredrix, St Mary’s University

Highly commended – Jordan Campbell, Glasgow Caledonian University

Commended – Fiona Tomas, News Associates Manchester


Trainee sports journalism

Winner – Katie Falkingham, Sportsbeat

Highly commended – Nick Gullon, The Northern Echo

Commended – Matthew Smith, MailOnline


Student features award

Winner – Emma Calder, University of Lincoln

Highly Commended – Jessica David, University of Sheffield

Commended – Rowan Nevin, University of Portsmouth


Trainee features award

Winner – Will Hayward, Media Wales

Highly commended – Carly Minsky, Pageant Media

Commended – Aniesa Mirreh, South West News Service


Student top scoop/exclusive

Winner – Anna Whittaker, University of Sheffield

Highly commended – Jarrad Johnson, University of Lincoln

Commended – Keumars Afifi-Sabet, News Associates London


Trainee top scoop/exclusive

Winner – Thomas Mackintosh, BBC News

Highly commended – Caleb Spencer, Cambrian News

Commended – Samantha Booth, Croydon Advertiser


Student multimedia story/campaign of the year

Winner – Jason Lewis, Bournemouth University

Highly commended – Roshan Roberts-Crooks, Bournemouth University

Commended – Faith Ridler, University of Sheffield


Trainee multimedia story/campaign of the year

Winner – Bethany Lodge, The Gazette

Highly commended – Sian Elvin, Kent Live


Student project of the year

Winner – Echoes of Horror, Boglarka Kosztolanyi, University of Kent

Highly commended – The Forgotten Survivors, Luke Hastings, Bournemouth University

Commended – Dine magazine, Jack Portley, University of Central Lancashire


Apprentice of the year

Winner – Daniel Boswell, Sky Sports News

Commended – Safeeyah Kazi, Evening Standard

Commended – Rachel Matthews, The Telegraph

Commended – Kerry Parvin, BBC Radio Cumbria

Commended – Tristan Shale-Hester, Blackball Media


Student journalist of the year

Winner – Anna Schaverien, News Associates London

Commended – Mojo Abidi, University of Sheffield

Commended – Thomas George, News Associates Manchester

Commended – Christopher McKeon, Press Association Training London

Commended – Timothy Stickings, University of Sheffield

Commended – Jasmine Watkiss, Press Association Training Newcastle


Trainee journalist of the year

Winner – Laura Drysdale, Wakefield Express

Commended – Hannah Somerville, Oxford Mail

Commended – Abigail Weaving, Saffron Walden Reporter

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