A North East journalism student has been rewarded by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) for having one of the highest exam results in the country.  

Ethan Aaron Banks, who graduated from the University of Sunderland in 2023, received the award for his achievement, gaining the highest results for the Practical Magazine Journalism exams as part of the NCTJ Journalism diploma.  

The exam sees students create a magazine article which aims to give trainee journalists the skills to work in publication. 

The Northern Echo: Ethan Aaron Banks.Ethan Aaron Banks. (Image: UNIVERSITY OF SUNDERLAND)

Ethan said: “I was happy when the NCTJ contacted me saying I’d won the Practical Magazine Journalism Award, I almost burst into tears.  

“Receiving this award wouldn’t have been possible without the brilliant Steph Robson, who opened up to me about living with dwarfism and how impactful Ellie’s appearance was for her and the rest of the dwarfism community, Paralympian and disability advocate Baroness Grey-Thompson and Dr Barbara Sadler.”

Ethan added: “This achievement also wouldn’t have been earned if it wasn’t for talented journalism lectures Liz Lamb and Dr Alistair Robinson, who always ensured my classmates and I fully understand the art of feature writing and captivating story telling.”

Senior Lecturer in Journalism Liz Lamb at the university added: “I was so happy when I received the text from Ethan to say he had been awarded the highest grade in the country. It’s an amazing achievement. 

The Northern Echo: Ethan Aaron Banks.Ethan Aaron Banks. (Image: UNIVERSITY OF SUNDERLAND)

“He should be proud of himself for working hard to write a topical feature that tackled diversity in mainstream television.” 


Get more content including the stories that matter to your community from The Northern Echo for just £3 for 3 months for a limited time only here.

"Ethan is one of those students who was a pleasure to teach. He listened to the advice of his lecturers, strived to achieve the best sources for his story, and acted on feedback to write his feature in a compelling and emotive way.  

“It's a fantastic read. I am sure Ethan has a bright future ahead of him." 

After graduating, Ethan went on to work for the Essex Echo but has since left deciding to pursue his passion in entertainment journalism, going on to interview several celebrities.