Darlington College journalism apprentice on shortlist for top award.

A Darlington College journalism apprentice, who has produced 20 front page lead stories for her Newsquest employer, has been shortlisted for a national award.

Lucy Starkie is one of four apprentices from around the country on the shortlist in this year’s NCTJ Awards for Excellence. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on November 29 hosted by Sky News special correspondent and NCTJ patron. Alex Crawford.

Lucy started her NCTJ apprenticeship in September 2017 and combines NCTJ multimedia diploma study at Darlington College with on-the-job training at Workington in Cumbria where she produces content for the Whitehaven News and the Times and Star.

Her work has made the front pages on 20 occasions, many of the stories self-sourced. Newsroom mentor Julie Morgan nominated Lucy for the award. She said: “Unlike most of my previous trainees Lucy arrived in the office without any journalism experience. She has a true journalist’s desire to get to the bottom of a story and is willing to chase down contacts and angles without prompting or hesitation.”

Julie added: “She has transformed from a bright and enthusiastic young trainee to be a determined and dedicated journalist, proficient on all social media platforms.” At college, Lucy shows similar determination. She has gold standard grades in Essential Journalism and Media Law and will complete final exams early next year.

Lucy said: “I am delighted to be shortlisted for this award. Being a reporter is demanding but also incredibly rewarding and I love it every day.

“I have wanted to get into journalism since I was at university so I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to complete the NCTJ qualification while working for my local newspaper. “I would recommend anyone wanting to become a journalist to look into doing the apprenticeship,” she added.

Darlington College apprentices Paige McDermott and Georgia Banks (Northern Echo), Vicky Thompson and Joe Richardson (York Press), Bradley Deas and Nathan Atkinson (Bradford Telegraph and Argus) were all nominated for this year’s awards by their mentors and editors, winning praise for the contribution they are making to the Newsquest news and sport teams.

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