Steven Fletcher is the editor of the Lincolnshire Echo, a position he has held since 2011.
Steven completed the NCTJ Post-Graduate Diploma at De Montfort University from Oct 98 to June 99. Following this he worked at theHalifax Courier where he completed his NCE.
From there Steven moved to theNottingham Post where he rose to deputy editor before leaving to edit the Echo in 2011.
He says: “I started my NCTJ training in October 1998, and at the start it seemed like torture. There was so much to do, and the standard seemed very high.
“I particularly enjoyed the law training. It made a lot of the court and news reports I’d read in the past make sense. I still find it compelling to read reports of legally-tricky stories to see if the papers have kept to the rules…
“Shorthand was also tough to get into. I struggled at the start but kept making sure I did an hour every day. I even did a tape on Christmas Day. When I returned to university in the new year I had jumped from 60 wpm to 80. Something had clicked, and I was relieved to get my 100wpm a month or two later. I have people in the office who reached 120wpm, which is unbelievable.
“The NCTJ courses are hard work, but so worthwhile. They prepare you for starting out on a newspaper, so that when you do land that junior’s job you can concentrate on finding good, off-diary stories – not on trying to work out the structure of the local council or trying to read up on the Sexual Offences Act.
“The training is still very useful as an editor. I need to be able to spot legal problems with one minute to deadline. And I need to know my parish councils from my district councils, and be able to check a reporter’s shorthand if there is any doubt about a controversial fact or quote.
“I have interviewed many trainees over the years, and always look for the NCTJ qualifications, so I know that they are of a high standard.”