Bursary recipient and newly-qualified senior reporter, Sam Smith, has won an award for exceptional performance in the November National Certificate Examination.
There are four sections which make up the NCE: news interview; news report; newspaper practice; and logbook.
Sam, of the Brentwood Gazette, scooped the Society of Editors’ Award for best news interview after examiners praised him for his “thorough” questioning during the exam.
The examiners said: “Sam presented a very comprehensive story. He did not go for the run of the mill intro and focused on the anguish of the mother losing her son.
“Sam was very ordered, polite and thorough in his questioning and asked questions of the interviewee that other candidates did not. The result was a well-structured story that flowed well and took the reader through from start to end”.
The news interview featured the tragic story of an unemployed 16-year-old electrocuted when attempting to steal cabling from a railway line. The young man’s brother had tried to stop the theft but also suffered horrific burns in the incident.
Sam, who received a bursary from the Journalism Diversity Fund in 2010 to complete his journalism training at News Associates, London, said he was surprised that he had won the award. He added: “I was just relieved to have passed the exam and never expected to win anything on top of that.
“When I do an interview I try to have a line of questioning in my head ready to pursue, but equally you have to be able to adapt quickly…Know your subject and listen carefully to what is said during the interview.”
“I would like to thank my colleagues for the help and support they’ve offered me over the last 16 months. Passing the NCE and winning the award is a testament to the guidance they have given me”.