I discovered on Wednesday that I’ve passed my NCE exams – and did particularly well on the News Practice exam, winning the Ted Bottomley award. (I love the name. Love it. Probably too much.)
The examiner [pdf] was very, very nice about my paper, saying:
A textbook example of how to tackle the Newspaper Practice paper. A comprehensive law answer citing relevant cases and law, followed by practice answers that clearly demonstrate the candidate’s imagination and ability. It is clear from this paper that this candidate is already putting into practice the skills that the Newspaper Practice paper looks for. One of the highest Newspaper Practice scores in recent years. A very impressive performance.
I’ve been trying to find the paper I wrote so I could work out what on earth I did right, but so far haven’t managed to unearth it. I’m pretty sure I arrived home and thrust it as far out of sight as possible along with the other papers.
But from what I remember, a staggering amount of what I wrote for the second half of the paper was about the internet. Specific, useful, relevant ideas about how to use it to move stories on, to facilitate comments and let the community take control of the conversation. I talked about topic pages, context as an integral part of news reporting, data journalism in many forms, visualisations, mashups, maps, timelines, social media, FOIs, online reportage in all sorts of guises and the importance of the hyperlink.
Anyone revising for News Practice exams – my best advice is read the links, think about how you can apply the theory to the practical, and good luck. Oh, and know your McNae’s. Nothing can beat that.