Fabulous four News Associates alumni scoop gongs at NCTJ Awards for Excellence

News Associates graduate Sara Oldfield was named NCTJ Student Journalist of the Year at the annual NCTJ Awards for Excellence in Portsmouth.

It is the second straight year that a News Associates graduate has won the prize, which is awarded for the best examination results achieved nationally in the NCTJ’s Diploma in Journalism.

Sara joined our London fast-track course in September 2015 having previously worked as a researcher for BBC News in their Madrid bureau and an assistant director on a BBC Two documentary series.

After graduating with a gold-standard qualification – including a succession of A grade scores across all modules and 110 words per minute shorthand – she joined The Sun as an online feature writer. She was recently appointed as the digital editor at Fabulous magazine.

“I’m stunned and proud to have won this award and would never have done it without the amazing support of the tutors at News Associates,” said Sara, who received her award from BBC News deputy political editor John Pienaar.


But Sara’s was not the only success for News Associates.

A magnificent seven News Associates graduates were shortlisted for the prestigious awards, with nominees spanning five categories.

Lucy Pasha-Robinson and Ross Kempsell made up two-thirds of the student Top Scoop category, with Lucy coming out on top.

Lucy said: “I totally wasn’t expecting this and am overwhelmed by the recognition.”


Ross Lawson and Will Kelleher made up an all-News Associates shortlist in the trainee sports journalist of the year category.

And Ross, now a multimedia reporter at press agency Sportsbeat, narrowly pipped Will, a sports journalist at the Daily Mail, to the title.

Ross said: “With News Associates I have been given opportunities I would not otherwise have had across a variety of different sports.

“A huge amount of thanks has to go to News Associates and Sportsbeat.”


Richard Amofa, now working at the Daily Telegraph, was named student sports journalist of the year.

Richard said: “Studying at News Associates is definitely one of the best decisions that I have made so far.

“The staff there want to help make you become a good journalist.”


Elsewhere, the judges praised others shortlisted with Carly Minsky, of the Times Educational Supplement, commended as trainee feature writer of the year and September 2015 fast-track alumnus Lily Waddell, now a reporter at the Daily Star Online, was shortlisted for trainee top scoop.

“We’re proud beyond words that our trainees have been recognised to underline what we already knew from working with them – they are fantastically talented journalists with huge futures,” said News Associates managing editor James Toney.

“Sara’s achievements in following George Gigney and keeping the student journalist of the year prize in News Associates hands is particularly special.

“She didn’t just achieve brilliant results in her exams and course work but she’s made huge strides already in the industry – underlining that’s she even better in the newsroom than she was in the classroom.”