Why study at News Associates?

There are lots of places where you can train to be a journalist, so why study with News Associates?

Well, we’re proud to be home to the UK’s number one NCTJ journalism course, but we do things differently. You’ll be treated like a journalist from day one, so expect it to be fast-paced and intensive.

We’re a young team, we’re really passionate and driven and we have high expectations. We don’t sit around and talk about the good old days on Fleet Street – we live and breathe the changes happening in the media right now. How Instagram can be used to find stories, how changes in technology impact the content we produce and how TikTok influences how we shoot video content.

No two courses are the same, because they shouldn’t be. We will work as hard for you as you work for us.

So what makes us different?

Our innovative approach to training

We won ‘Innovation of the Year’ at the NCTJ Awards for Excellence 2022. We were recognised for our trainees’ multimedia coverage of the death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in the first few weeks of their course – producing 142 articles in 11 days. Judges praised our coverage as ‘a highly innovative project, which turned breaking news into a fast turnaround learning environment’.

A graphic of NCTJ innovation of the year 2022 winner News Associates.

We also won the Innovation of the Year award at the 2020 NCTJ Awards for Excellence and were commended for the way we adapted our teaching styles and exercises for remote learning, kept up morale for trainees and ran a series of free online workshops open to everyone.

An unrivalled job record

You will find our trainees making their mark on the front pages of our national and regional newspapers, presenting and reporting on the BBC and Sky News, working internationally for some of the most respected names in journalism from Reuters to the New York Times to CNN and the Wall Street Journal and producing cutting-edge multimedia features for VICE and The Huffington Post. They are news reporters and feature writers, foreign correspondents and sports journalists. See our list of recent trainee job destinations.

FAB FRAN: News Associates Manchester graduate Francesca Marshall is the night news editor at the Daily Telegraph

The best exam results in the country

In 2021, News Associates was officially the UK’s number one NCTJ journalism school for the seventh straight year. Our first-ever undergraduate cohort in Manchester in 2021 was crowned the number one course in the country with 100% of trainees achieving the highly sought-after gold-standard qualification, while our fast-track course in London also achieved the top results again – the ninth year in a row News Associates has delivered the best independent fast-track course.

And we’ve been the number one-ranked NCTJ course in London for 13 years.

News Associates grads and staff with their NCTJ awardsCONGRATS: (L-R) News Associates head of journalism London Graham Moody, Ella Jerman, Jen Tombs, News Associates editorial development manager Lucy Dyer and Cormac Connelly-Smith

In the 2019-20 academic year, 1,138 people enrolled to sit their Diploma in Journalism exams across 59 accredited courses at 35 approved centres, and 222 of them achieved gold standard (A-C grades in all modules and 100wpm shorthand, if taken) – of which 103 trained with us. Meaning 46% of all gold-standard journalists that year trained at News Associates.

WINNING TEAM 2018: (L-R) Head of journalism London Graham Moody, News Associates managing editor James Toney, head of journalism Manchester Andrew Greaves, NCTJ Student Journalist of the Year Jessica Cripps and News Associates deputy managing editor Graham Dudman

Award-winning trainees

It’s not just about being good in the classroom but being great in the newsroom – and our list of recent graduate awards underlines this approach, which is at the heart of our training.

A fantastic FIVE News Associates graduates won awards at the NCTJ Awards for Excellence 2023 – including the prestigious student of the year accolade. News Associates graduate turned Sky News producer Eve Bennett won student of the year – the prize awarded to the student who achieves the highest marks in their NCTJ in Diploma in Journalism exams in the 2022/23 academic year. Asher Gibson (freelance journalist) won student project of the year for his work titled, How to heal a city – The growth of PrEP and future of HIV activism in London.
Alec McQuarrie (freelance journalist) landed trainee sports journalist of the year, Connie Bowker (freelance journalist) took home student feature writer of the year and Max Kendix (The Times) won the gong for student data journalist of the year.

All of our News Associates grads shortlisted for the NCTJ Awards for Excellence standing and holding their certificates and smiling. They are all smartly dressed and standing in front of rows of books on a shelf in the library at the Royal College of Physicians.
Our News Associates shortlisted and winning grads at the NCTJ Awards for Excellence 2023

At the 2022 NCTJ Awards for Excellence, News Associates graduate and inaugural recipient of the BCOMS and Chelsea FC bursary Um-E-Aymen, now a journalist at BBC Sport, won student sports journalist of the year. In addition, News Associates Manchester alumni Jack Walton, now at The Post, was crowned student feature writer of the year.

A spectacular six News Associates graduates won prizes at the NCTJ Awards for Excellence 2021 – Tomás Hill Lopez-Menchero (The Times) and Rachel Steinberg (Sportsbeat) won student and trainee sports journalist of the year, Sophia Hall (Classic FM) landed student scoop of the year, Carolina Herranz-Carr (ITV) and Charlie Jones (BBC) were joint winners of the trainee podcast journalist of the year award, and Jacklin Kwan won student data journalist of the year. At the 2020 NCTJ Awards for Excellence, News Associates graduate Joshua Graham won Student Sports Journalist of the Year and alumnus Alex Diggins won Student Feature Writer of the Year. News Associates sports journalism graduate Jonathan Harding (Racing Post) won NCTJ Trainee Sports Journalist of the Year in 2019. News Associates alumnus Jessica Cripps (Kennedy News and Media) was crowned NCTJ Student News Journalist of the Year at the Awards for Excellence 2018. News Associates graduate Anna Schaverien (The New York Times) was named NCTJ Student Journalist of the Year at the annual NCTJ awards in 2017. It was the third straight year a News Associates graduate has won the prize, following Sara Oldfield’s (Fabulous magazine) win in 2016 and George Gigney’s (Boxing News) win in 2015. There were also wins for recent graduates Neil Athey (Lancashire Telegraph), Katie Falkingham (BBC) in 2017. Former News Associates trained winners of NCTJ Awards for Excellence in Journalism include: Leonie Chong Fong (Metro), Naomi Firsht (Jewish Chronicle), Jordan Bluer (Dover Express), Nemesha Balasundaram (Irish Post), Paul Berentzen (Blackpool Gazette), Jon Robinson (Lancashire Telegraph), Ellie Ross (The Sun), Lauren Potts (BBC), James Coldwell (Hull Daily Mail), Thomas Allnut (Press Association), Emily Koch (Bristol Evening Post), George Scott (Eurosport), David Jordan (The Times), Jessica Baldwin (Time Out), Josh Burrows (The Times), Hardeep Matharu (Epsom Guardian), David Churchill (London Evening Standard), Jennifer Morris (Surrey Advertiser) and Adam Knight (Hereford Times).

WINNER: Jess Cripps won NCTJ Student News Journalist of the Year 2018

A practical approach

Journalism can’t be taught from a textbook – you have to get out there and do it, make a few mistakes along the way and learn from them. We are part of one of the UK’s busiest press agencies, meaning we can draw on the skills and experiences of their editors, journalists and broadcast specialists. Work placement is fully-integrated into our programmes, with full-time trainees spending a day a week on external or internal placements. And we’re here to help and give advice so you take the most from this time.

LIGHTS, CAMERA…: Trainees in action

Trainee satisfaction

Journalism is a team sport and there is something rather special about being part of #TeamNA – we love staying in touch with graduates and hearing about their successes. One of the biggest reasons trainees join our programmes is because they’ve been recommended to us by journalists in the industry. Check out our most recent testimonials.

#TEAMNA: Our trainees always stick together


Every year we host a journalism conference packed with journalists from national newspapers and broadcasters and emerging digital platforms. JournoFest 2023 opened with our keynote speaker John Witherow. He focussed his talk on why now, more than ever, is a great time to get into journalism and why he is optimistic about the future of journalism. Our other panels also discussed ‘What makes great journalism?’ and ‘What is the next big thing in journalism?’.

In 2022 JournoFest returned as a week-long series of events inviting some of the biggest names in the industry to speak at an exclusive launch event followed by remote panel sessions open to everyone. Our second JournoFest panel this year focussed on tackling fear and obstacles when reporting from hostile environments, with a star-studded panel of correspondents including Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford, The Sun defence editor Jerome Starkey, and Sky News international affairs producer and BAFTA-winner Sophie Alexander.

In 2021 we hosted our first ever remote JournoFest, which was our biggest yet, with more than 180 guests attending via Zoom. Our keynote speaker was The Daily Mirror’s political editor, Pippa Crerar. Pippa gave a fascinating and unique perspective on the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our trainees also heard from Press Gazette news editor Charlotte Tobitt, ITV political correspondent Daniel Hewitt, The Associated Press video journalist Renata Brito and The Athletic staff editor Richard Amofa.

In 2020 our audience of trainees and graduates were treated to inspirational talks from BBC journalist Christian Fraser and Sky News presenter Dermot Murnaghan. We also had panels covering broadcast journalism, working for a news agency and taking your first steps in the industry.

In 2019 our lucky trainees and special guests heard from legendary columnist the Fleet Street Fox and were in awe listening to The Times chief reporter Sean O’Neill discuss his investigation exposing Oxfam’s cover-up of sexual exploitation by aid workers in Haiti. Panels also covered topics including data and digital journalism and taking your first steps in the industry.

In 2018 our trainees and alumni heard from Sky News senior correspondent Ian Woods and The Guardian Brexit correspondent Lisa O’Carroll alongside panellists including BBC News senior broadcast journalist Narinder Kalsi, Sky News political correspondent Lewis Goodall and many more.

In 2017 BBC News anchor Maxine Mawhinney was our keynote speaker and we were in conversation with BBC sports editor Dan Roan. With other speakers and panellists discussing everything from investigative and political journalism to social media. See more here.

From left to right: News Associates deputy managing editor, and JournoFest host, Graham Dudman, Jane Moore, David Woode, Samantha Washington and Kamal Ahmed.
From left to right: News Associates deputy managing editor, and JournoFest host, Graham Dudman, Jane Moore, David Woode, Samantha Washington and Kamal Ahmed.

Of course we would say all that wouldn’t we, and we teach our journalists to never always trust what they are told. We expect people that want to study with us to do their homework and ask us difficult questions – where you study is the most important first decision in your journalism careers.

Got a question about our journalism courses? Contact us on training@newsassociates.co.uk or 0203 026 3781.

Sign up for a free journalism workshop here.

Apply for our NCTJ-accredited journalism courses here.