Graduate Praises MA Journalism Course after Scoring Record-Breaking Result in Prestigious Industry Exam

Friday 1 May 2015

A graduate has praised journalism teaching at the University of Salford after winning a national award by scoring the highest ever mark in a prestigious industry exam.

Katie Dickinson graduated from the University’s MA Journalism programme in 2013 and secured a job as a reporter at The Westmorland Gazette in Cumbria.

After completing 18 months as a trainee with the newspaper, she has now become a senior reporter by passing the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ (NCTJ) NQJ exam – scoring a record 91 per cent in her media law and practice paper.

Katie, 26, said: “The fact that I got the job at The Westmorland Gazette just days after finishing at Salford is a testament to the quality of the course and the careers support we were given.

 “Being a journalist is a fantastic job, but extremely stressful with a lot of responsibility – I think the MA course was invaluable in preparing me for this role.

 “The standard of teaching was excellent, and I received thorough training in shorthand, law, ethics, writing and newsgathering – all vital skills when I started working in a newsroom.”

Katie, who won the NCTJ’s Ted Bottomley Award and £250, was praised by examiners for an “outstanding paper.”

A NCTJ spokesperson said: “It included a near-perfect answer for question 2, plus excellent ones for questions 1 and 3.

“Katie not only showed good knowledge of law and ethics, but she also expressed it with clarity. She picked up on the problems and explained logically how best to deal with them. To drop only nine marks is exceptional.”

Katie achieved her NCTJ Diploma while studying at the University’s NCTJ-accredited PGDip/MA Journalism programme at the MediaCityUK campus.

Graduates who achieve the Diploma and secure work can then take the NQJ exam, the highest vocational award in journalism, after 18 months at a media organisation.

Paul Broster, Programme Leader for MA Journalism, said: “Katie was an outstanding student at Salford, both in the classroom and on our work placements, so it is no surprise she has developed so quickly into an outstanding reporter.

“We are delighted for her. It’s also been wonderful to look over all the stories and exclusives she has produced for the Westmorland Gazette.”