Back of the net for Sunderland graduate Joe

Kim Fletcher, chairman of the NCTJ, and Sky News' Sarah Hewson, congratulate Joe Nicholson

Published on 03 December 2018

Sunderland journalism graduate Joe Nicholson has been crowned Trainee Sports Journalist of the Year at an awards ceremony.

The 21-year-old, who now works as a digital sports specialist for JPIMedia - which includes the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail - beat off strong competition for the title, presented by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

Joe, who studied Sports Journalism, was praised by the judges for his level of research into his articles at their awards evening in Harlow, Essex.

His portfolio of work included his university dissertation project on issues on the ITF Tennis Tour and was hailed for the amount of detail he had put into the subject.

He beat an impressive shortlist of candidates to the award, with Richard Dore, from Sportsbeat, and The Sun's Jordan Davies finishing as runners-up.

Joe said: "I was delighted to win the award, and with the feedback from the judging panel.

"Two of the pieces I submitted were from my university dissertation project which looked at issues on the ITF Tennis Tour, including gender inequality and match-fixing.

"I want to say a big thanks to everyone who has supported me over the last few years, especially my family, university, tutors and colleagues at JPIMedia."

Joe, who has worked freelance while completing his studies, joined the sports team full-time in August and has been working across our titles covering Sunderland AFC, Newcastle United, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and tennis.

Editorial director Joy Yates said: "I'm delighted that Joe won such a prestigious award, up against such tough competition.

"He has continued producing first-class work for us on our digital and print platforms and hopefully has a great future ahead of him in journalism."