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News Associates graduates make up quarter of NCTJ Awards for Excellence 2021 shortlist

Patricia Cruz



A quarter of all journalists on the NCTJ Awards for Excellence 2021 shortlist are graduates.

An incredible 17 out of 66 nominations on the prestigious shortlist – whittled down from a record 481 entries – studied for their NCTJ at in London or Manchester.

 staff and trainees at the NCTJ Awards for Excellence in Sunderland in 2019. The selection of eight trainees, staff and guests are all very smartly dressed. shortlisted graduates alongside staff at the NCTJ Awards for Excellence ceremony in 2019

Paul Kilbey (Manchester part-time grad and freelance journalist) and Elaine McCallig (London fast-track grad and journalist at The Independent) make up a third of the student of the year award nominations which recognises the graduate who achieved the best exam results nationally in the diploma in journalism.

Previously graduates Anna Schaverien (2017), Sara Oldfield (2016) and George Gigney (2015) have taken home this award.

Elaine said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award. A massive thank you to the tutors at for all the support, mentoring, and laughs along the way.

“I made friends for life at and I learned so much that I now use day-to-day in my job at The Independent.”

Paul said: “I’m thrilled to be nominated for the student of the year award, particularly because I received the news about an hour after a job rejection. Doing the diploma course part-time while keeping up my freelance work was really tough, but also rewarding, and I’m very grateful to Manchester.”

There is at least one alumni in each of the six main categories – news, sports, top scoop, features, podcast journalism and data journalism.

London part-time grad David Averre (Mail Online) features twice in the shortlist – once against fast-track grad Neha Gohil (The News Movement) up for student news journalism and once alongside sports journalism grad Tomás Hill Lopez-Menchero (Times Sport) for student sports journalist of the year.

David said: “I’ve been afforded with some fantastic opportunities in 2021, and to be shortlisted for an NCTJ Award for Excellence in both news and sports journalism really is the icing on the cake.

“I am hugely appreciative of the team at , who played a major role in helping me achieve this and opened a lot of doors for me!”

Tomás said: “I’m really pleased to be shortlisted for the sports journalism award. I had a great time studying for my NCTJ at and the best thing about the course was meeting so many like-minded people, each with their own unique area of sporting interest.

“I’m grateful to for having delivered the best possible learning experience during the pandemic and for all the opportunities the course gave me.”

London sports journalism alumni Josh Graham after his win in 2020

In 2020, student sports journalist of the year was awarded to London sports journalism graduate Josh Graham (Sportsbeat), who pipped course mate Rachel Steinberg (Sportsbeat) to the post – who is now representing in the trainee category!

Rachel said: “Wow! What an honour to be recognised by the NCTJ for the second year in a row. I’m especially proud to have made the shortlist with three stories covering the breadth of women’s sport, from football to motorsport and the Paralympics.

“I’m hugely grateful to Sportsbeat for giving me a limitless platform as one of the few people in the UK lucky enough to cover women’s sport full time – though I really hope that will soon no longer be such a rare thing to say!”

graduates made up the entire shortlist for the student sports journalist of the year category in 2020

London fast-track and part-time graduates Phoebe Dampare Osei (Yahoo News UK) and Sophia Alexandra Hall (Classic FM) are up against each other in the student top scoop category – while Sophia is also recognised on the equality, diversity and inclusion award shortlist!

Phoebe said: “I’m thrilled to have been shortlisted for the top scoop award. I want to thank for giving me the best possible foundation for my career and Yahoo UK for supporting me on my journey.”

Sophia said: “I was pretty hesitant when my tutors recommended I apply for the NCTJ awards, so hesitant in fact, that I waited until the final day to apply. But I’m so glad I did, as it’s incredibly affirming to have been shortlisted in two separate categories.

“I’m proud to be representing both #TeamNA and the JDF. Both parties have been so important to the start of my journalism career and I’m so grateful for their support. I can’t wait for the ceremony next year and I’m looking forward to meeting all the journalists shortlisted as well as the industry leader judges.”

It’s Manchester versus London with Callum Gaunt (Lancashire Telegraph) and Helen Brown (freelance) both up for student features, alongside Manchester fast-track alumna Dani Cole (Manchester Mill) in the trainee category.

Dani said: “I am absolutely delighted to be shortlisted. It means a lot as I took a leap of faith and changed careers to become a journalist. There’s no doubt that doing the fast-track NCTJ course with has helped me get where I am today.

“The skills I’ve learned have been invaluable. I would like to extend my deepest thanks to everyone at Manchester for their support and expertise, and also to the Journalism Diversity Fund.”

Last year, Alex Diggins (Telegraph) of London part-time fame took home the gong for student feature writer of the year 2020.

Judges described Alex’s articles as ‘beautifully written, very interesting and totally absorbing’

Elsewhere and London fast-track alumna Carolina Herranz-Carr (ITV) is up for trainee podcast journalist of the year alongside journalists from Winchester Today and NewsShopper.

Carolina said: “I’m incredibly exited to be nominated in the podcast journalism category! I launched true crime podcast Trial by Media with fellow trainee Charlie Jones following our time at .

“Certainly, the media law and court reporting skills gathered at played a huge part in making this project possible.”  

Graduates from a whole host of cohorts are representing in the digital journalism categories.

Jacklin Kwan (Manchester fast-track) and Natasha Livingstone (London part-time) make up 50% of the student category while Matilda Martin (London fast-track) also makes up half of the trainee nominations!

Jacklin (freelance) said: “I’m beyond honoured to be shortlisted in this year’s awards. It seems like just yesterday I began taking my journalism dream seriously.

“I honestly couldn’t have found a more supportive place to begin my journey than New Associates. The skills and knowledge I learnt from the tutors and staff were invaluable, and it opened up so many opportunities for me!”

Natasha (Mail on Sunday) said: “I’m very grateful to have been shortlisted for an NCTJ award!

“Training part-time with was challenging but so rewarding. It enabled me to hone my skills as a journalist with great tutors who motivated us through many dark Wednesday evenings in lockdown!”

Matilda (Tes) said: “I am so excited to have been nominated for the data journalism category, especially for a story I am so passionate about.

“Well done to all nominated and thank you NA for your help and guidance! I’m so excited for the ceremony and to meet all the others who have been shortlisted.”

Friends of , News UK and Jem Collins from Journo Resources, are also up for the equality, diversity and inclusion gong, sponsored by the Financial Times.

editorial development manager Lucy Dyer said: “It’s so great to see our graduates recognised for their tireless efforts in the classroom and newsroom over the last year.

“I’m often asked in course interviews about the job prospects for our graduates and I think this shortlist underpins the platform gives you.

“I know I speak for our entire training team when I say how proud we all are of our trainees and alumni, and equally for our grads in thanking our delivery teams for the monumental effort they put in day in, day out. Well done everyone! ”

Manchester head of journalism Alice Gregory said: “Seeing so many of our graduates on this list of nominations makes us feel very proud. It’s a fantastic achievement at any time but seeing what they have accomplished during a pandemic makes it all the more impressive.

“The way they have handled the various challenges thrown at them and the standard of work they have produced is incredible. All have shown themselves to be excellent journalists – demonstrating resilience and a good work ethic – and each and every one of the nominees should feel as proud of themselves as we do!”

deputy managing editor Graham Dudman said: “The quality of all our journalism courses is second-to-none as the number of nominations from -trained journalists shows.”

In 2020 the team was over the moon to win the innovation of the year award which celebrates the new and exciting ways NCTJ centres are teaching and inspiring their journalists.

Graphic announcing  as the Winner of NCTJ Innovation of the Year award 2020 at the #NCTJawards.

Sky News correspondent Ashna Hurynag, who presented the award, said: “A huge congratulations to you! The judges said they felt there was an impressive, innovative and pioneering re-working of the course and timetable, with careful thought given to student welfare.

“The judges said it felt like a whole team effort, with a comprehensive list of webinars, Q&As and talks, with social media tips which made great use of an impressive list of alumni. Congratulations to you.”

A YouTube screen grab of a Sky News live stream of the NCTJ Awards of Excellence. Correspondent Ashna Hurynag is talking and the ticker along the bottom says: BREAKING NEWS NEWS ASSOCIATES WINS NCTJ INNOVATION OF THE YEAR AWARD Sky News correspondent Ashna Hurynag announcing the award at the virtual ceremony last year – see more here.

is officially the UK’s number NCTJ journalism school, as has been for six straight years.

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Article: Trust and Journalistic Transparency Online

Patricia Cruz



The study “Trust and Journalistic Transparency Online” by Michael Koliska from Georgetown University experimented on news consumers’ trust as brought on by transparency, and further, in the second experiment, explored the reasons for the findings in the first.

Transparency in journalism is defined as opening up the journalistic processes (production, decision making) to outsiders, i.e. making journalism more transparent. Karlsson (2010, 2020) further divides transparency into disclosure, participatory, and ambient transparency. 

Defining trust, on the other hand, in journalism has been tricky, as it has been associated with credibility. Kohring and Matthes (2007) define the four elements of trust: 1. trust in topic selectivity; 2. trust in fact selectivity; 3. trust in accuracy of descriptions, and 4. trust in journalistic assessment. 

This study recruited its participants from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) platform. There were a total of 1092 participants. They were presented with a news story about nanoparticles – a topic that was unfamiliar to most and therefore had a low risk of partisan opinions. The article was presented in six different webpages that had differing transparency items in them.

There were 11 different trust items in the first experiment. Based on the results, the hypotheses were rejected. They were H1: A a) production transparency news item and a b) producer transparency news item will be trusted more than a non-transparent item. H2: A full transparency (both production and producer transparency) news item will be trusted more than a) a non-transparent article, b) a production transparency article, and c) a producer transparency article. And H3a: A full transparency news item will be trusted more than a full transparent article that includes biased information about the producer. H3b: A producer transparency news item with neutral personal information will be trusted more than a producer transparency article with biased information.

Nevertheless, the participants agreed that the journalist was trustworthy and that they sometimes trusted the news media. On results, it was speculated that the participants did not recognize the transparency features as cognitive heuristics and did not interact much with the transparency items. 

The second experiment was similar. There were a total of 379 participants, who were not the same as in the first one. They were assigned to read the same article as in the first about nanoparticles, placed again on five different webpages with varying transparency features.  

Further on, the participants were asked to recall the transparency features (such as hyperlinks, author bio, editorial explanations etc.) and to recall specific information from the article and the transparency features. 

The participants recalled items such as the photo (84% of the ones assigned to the webpage with a photo) only 34% could correctly identify the journalist. Similarly, 53% of those who had seen an editorial explanation recalled it, but only 26% could recall a detail from it. Participants also had trouble recalling the individual transparency features they were exposed to.

It was noted that the participants had better recall on items that were part of the actual story than the ‘digitally outsourced’ transparency items. It is possible that this information is not adequately processed or they failed to acknowledge the utility of this information. 

In conclusion, it still remains unclear how the link between transparency and audience’s trust is created. The question remains on whether news consumers recognize transparency features as markers of journalistic quality.

The article “Trust and Journalistic Transparency Online” by Michael Koliska is in Journalism Studies. (open access). 

Picture: scrabble tiles spelling trust by Ronda Dorsey.

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News ideology and media storms in France and Israel

Patricia Cruz



The article “What Happens in the Eye of the Storm? News Ideology During Media Storms” by Doron Shultziner from Hadassah Academic College looked at the nexus of news ideology and media storms using two media storms to analyze the topic: the Yellow Vests Movement (2018) in France and the Occupy Movement (2011) in Israel.

Media storms are defined as events or topics that take up a substantial part of the coverage for a period of time. They typically peak after few weeks in the beginning and then begin to fade. They have been studied widely with various terms being applied to them like “media event” or “media hypes”.

In the past 15 years, there has been an increase in the amount of studies on media ideology. Measured against the hypothetical gold standard of pure objectivity, media bias can be seen when coverage varies from source to another in different weighings and so on, with professional considerations having been overtaken by ideological ones.

The ideology is often seen in framing – as in this case, left-wing media tends to frame the protests positively and right-wing negatively. This was one of the topics in this study.
There were two data sets for the study: the Israeli one and the French one. The Israeli dataset consisted of coverage from Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel Hayom, Maariv, Haaretz, Makor Rishon (a national-religious newspaper), and Yated Neeman (an ultra-religious newspaper). Israel Hayom, Makor Rishon, and Yated Neeman are right-wing, the rest are left wing.

The French dataset consisted of coverage from Le Figaro, Le Monde, Libération, and L’Obs – listed here from right to left ideologically. The articles from both datasets were coded either positive, negative, or neutral based on several criteria.

The results show that media storms are a multi-media phenomenon, affecting a number of newspapers at once. The findings also demonstrate a media bias: if professional considerations were the only thing that mattered, the coverage in left- and right-wing media would have resembled each other.

Instead, there was a trend of negative coverage in right-wing media and positive in left – and what is more, the lines of coverage moved to opposite directions, showing increased polarization. There were differences between the storms: in the Israel case the newspapers chose their sides early and there was no significant move, but in France the lines diverged as the media storm went on.

News ideology also operated through production bias mechanisms, such as sizing of articles or their placement in the newspaper (front page or somewhere else). Due to the differences of the two cases, the hypotheses regarding the decline stage of the storm were hard to assess.

The author notes that the study has implications for future research. It proposes that media storms may be high-risk events that even challenge the ideology and interests of the news organizations. As important, politically charged events become media storms, they may become political storms instead.

The article “What Happens in the Eye of the Storm? News Ideology During Media Storms” by Doron Shultziner is in International Journal of Communication. (free access).

Picture: Storm Approaching by Johannes Plenio @jplenio.
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Covering women’s sport: My sports journalism career highlights

Patricia Cruz



There has never been a better time to work in women’s sport and for early-career sports reporters, the opportunities are endless.

Here, multimedia sports reporter Milly McEvoy shares how she has covered everything from the Olympics and Paralympics to international women’s cricket and football tournaments, only a year after finishing her sports journalism course.

In June 2021, fresh off finishing my Multimedia Sports Journalism qualification with in Manchester, I made the move down to London to join Sportsbeat as a reporter.

It feels like a lifetime ago, but what has come in between also feels like a blur – it has involved international rugby and football, the British Athletics Championships and domestic cricket and netball (and lots more) in person. 

I have also covered the Summer Olympics and Paralympics, Wimbledon, the Commonwealth Games, remotely and I have had the opportunity to interview sportspeople involved from the grassroots to the top of the game. 

On top of all that, I spent two months covering the Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand. 

As I came to the end of my history degree in 2020, I already knew I wanted to be a sports journalist, but I started thinking about what form that would take. 

I quickly settled on women’s sport. 

I had always kept an eye on women’s sport, and proudly say the first sporting event I ever attended was a Women’s Euros football match in 2005, but my interest in sport came from what was easily available – and even two years ago most women’s sport wasn’t. 

2020 was a slippery slope to full-on obsession including listening to the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup final on 8 March in the early morning on the radio. 

Even across the airwaves, the sound of 86,174 people packing into the MCG showed to me that there was plenty of appetite for women’s sport, people just need to be able to see it – and read about it. 

Fast forward two years and Australia were winning another World Cup, but this time, I was there to see it with my own eyes before heading to the press conference to speak with captain Meg Lanning. 

What had led to that point at around 9pm on 3 April 2022 was two months covering one of the most exciting tournaments cricket has ever seen, and I’m luckily not yet jaded enough to have cursed having to rewrite my match reports as momentum swung wildly in several games. 

I learnt so much from covering that World Cup producing over 120 previews, reports, reaction pieces and features, but my favourite one was the last thing I did in Aotearoa, speaking with a slightly hungover Grace Harris the day after she had won the World Cup. 

Having returned to the UK, I enjoyed a full circle moment in July as I covered the Women’s Euros, and just like the 2020 T20 World Cup, I watched from afar as 87,192 fans cheered the home team to victory. 

Except, this time I was writing the match report for the Lionesses and I couldn’t get into the Wembley press box because there were so many people eager to cover women’s sports. 

It feels like England’s win will be a turning point for women’s sport, one that is long overdue, and I am excited to be part of what is to come and grateful and proud to have been a small part of what has already been. 

You can find out more about our multimedia sports journalism course here.

For a taster of our award-winning journalism training, sign up for one of our free workshops here.

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