Student collecting an award

Awards for Excellence

The NCTJ Awards for Excellence recognise and reward the best journalism students, apprentices and trainees.

With quality training at the heart of the NCTJ, these annual awards highlight the achievements of individuals with promising journalism careers ahead of them.

View the Awards for Excellence categories

View the Awards for Excellence results 2023

Students, trainees and apprentices can enter in the following categories:
✨ News
✨ Sports
✨ Top scoop
✨ Features
✨ Podcast journalism
✨ Data journalism

Entries can nominate themselves or nominate someone else for these specialist categories:
✨ Student project of the year
✨ Innovation of the year award
✨ Community News Project award
✨ Equality, diversity and inclusion award

Nominate someone else for these specialist categories:
✨ Apprentice of the year award
✨ Chairman’s award


APPLY! APPLY! APPLY! You have absolutely nothing to lose. If you are serious about journalism, and you have something to add, then apply and show everyone your work and talent. Good luck!
Brendan Marshall, 2019 student top scoop award winner


Category awards are open to:

  • Students who are studying (or have studied) for the Diploma in Journalism either on an NCTJ-accredited course or via the NCTJ’s distance learning programme in the 2022-23 academic year
  • Trainees who have completed the Diploma in Journalism, with less than two years’ employment
  • Apprentices who are completing (or have completed) an NCTJ journalism apprenticeship during the 2022-23 academic year.

Rules of entry

  • The work submitted must have been produced between 1 September 2022 and 31 October 2023
  • Only one entry per category can be submitted
  • The same piece of work may not be submitted more than once
  • All entries should be produced by one person, with the exception of the Student Project of the Year and Podcast Journalism categories
  • If you have been sanctioned for malpractice by the NCTJ your entry will be disqualified
  • Work submitted must be accurate and within regulatory guidelines. Submissions found to be in breach of this will be removed and awards revoked if applicable
  • Information contained in the winning entries (excluding personal data) may be used by the NCTJ for publicity, promotions and other activities relating to the Awards for Excellence
  • Shortlisted submissions will be published on the NCTJ website

Allowed formats

For all categories, a mix of media may be submitted unless otherwise specified. For example, if supplying three stories, it could be one video, one audio and one written piece.

Video and audio pieces

  • The duration must be appropriate to the story being told, the platform being used and the audience. Careful consideration of those issues will help determine the length of the video/audio.
  • Pieces should be accompanied by a copy of the script or, in the case of entries which consist of interviews, any questions of briefing materials prepared before recording
  • The intended or actual outlet should be identified in the supporting statement
  • The upload limit is 64 MB per file. If your files exceed this size, please either compress the file or submit a document containing the link to your content instead

Written pieces

  • Can be submitted as PDFs or Word files
  • Can be screenshotted from a website (please ensure content is clearly readable)
  • URLs to online work can be submitted in a Word document. If the link is unavailable at the time of judging, it will not be considered)

Judging process

The judging panel is made up of editors and senior journalists. The NCTJ will manage any potential conflicts of interest that may arise, for example to ensure panel members are not judging an entrant with whom they are associated.

All decisions of the judges are final and there is no right of appeal.

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