Award winning Journalism student

Final year Journalism student Sean Walsh’s skill as a sports reporter has brought him a top national award.

The 20-year-old picked up the 2016-17 Premier League Prize for the best performance in the National Council for the Training of Journalists Sports Journalism exam.

Examiners gave Tottenham fan Sean a mark of 82% – one of five A grades achieved by the University of Portsmouth Journalism students in an excellent set of results in last summer’s exam.

Sean was presented with his award and a cash prize of £250 at a ceremony at the BBC Academy in Birmingham.

“I’m absolutely and thoroughly delighted to have won the NCTJ’s award for Sports Journalism,” he said.

“To have come top out of everyone else in the country is an indescribable feeling that’s kept me buzzing since I first found out I’d won.”

Students sitting the exam had to file an ‘on the whistle’ match report and a ‘post match quotes piece’ along with a series of sports writing exercises to show their skill and knowledge at covering a variety of sports.

Sean has undertaken a series of sport placements since the exam including The Independent, ESPN and Crystal Palace.

“I’ve managed to cover my beloved Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium and have appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live campaigning for LGBT rights,” said Sean.

“All have helped shape me as a young journalist, and I look forward to finding out what doors this award can open for me.

“I think the nature of our course has gotten me to this stage. There are so many talented people all vying for a shot in this industry, you push yourself just to keep up with the standards.”

Journalism Principal Lecturer Mary Williams who taught the sports journalism unit said: “This award is richly deserved. Sean has enormous talent and drive and our course team are convinced he has a stellar career ahead of him.”

The award is the latest in a string of recognition for the University of Portsmouth BA Hons Journalism course, ranked third in the country in the NCTJ results league table for accredited undergraduate courses.

Past students have won NCTJ national awards for videojournalism, shorthand, and sports writing. In November, graduate Rowan Nevin was commended in the NCTJ Student Features Award.

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