A year in the life of journalism training

December

The National Union of Journalists published its long-awaited report on the effects of cross media integration on working practices and says it is ‘greatly concerned’by what it has found.

According to the survey, 52 per cent of respondents felt the standard of online journalism was merely ‘adequate”. A third said new media journalism was of a professional standard, while 14 per cent said the quality was generally poor.

October

The NVQ training system for journalism was scrapped and merged with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) to create one vocational training qualification.

The NCTJ, which accredits courses at 41 colleges and universities across the country, would administer the new qualification which replaces the NVQ in journalism, run by the Newspaper Society. The two bodies said they hoped the new course would be a ‘gold standard’in journalism training.

The NCTJ began consulting with the industry on the future of its photography qualifications and has begun revising its syllabuses to ‘modernise’its courses.

Steve Phillips, picture editor at the South Wales Evening Post, and a member of the NCTJ photography board, said: ‘The past decade has been a time of considerable change for press photographers and photo-journalists and the photography.

‘The National Certificate Examination has managed to adapt well to the industry’s needs. The digital age, however, moves on with increasing speed and it is vital that our qualifications reflect what is needed by the industry now and in the future.”

September

The University of Kent became the latest university to announce the creation of a journalism department. It is headed by former Press Gazette editor Ian Reeves and media journalist Tim Luckhurst.

August

The NCTJ announced it was to shake-up the National Certificate Examination by introducing an online element to news exams for the first time.

Students taking the news interview section would now have to write a story for the web based on a mock interview with that day’s dateline – ready to be uploaded on to a newspaper website. Previously, students had been asked to write a story ‘for tomorrow’s paper”. The rest of the exam would remain the same.

Steve Nelson, NCTJ journalism chief examiner said: ‘Candidates are already submitting stories from websites for the logbook. This evolvement of the news interview section recognises the changing newsroom practices and presents candidates with the opportunity to write in a slightly different style to that normally required in the NCE. I am confident that candidates will easily adapt to this new requirement.”

The NCE is the senior NCTJ examination, taken by journalists who have been working for at least two years.

July

A new day-release course for multimedia sub-editing run by Press Association Training was announced.

The 20-day course, running from PA Training’s new London centre from September, promised to cover all the traditional skills of sub-editing and explain how they are transferred to online.

Students who successfully submitted a portfolio of their work done during the course and pass an assessment would receive PA’s diploma in sub-editing.

Peter Sands, director of PA Training, said: ‘This is a great way for new subs to gain a recognised qualification as well as develop new skills and knowledge to enable them to work in a new publishing company.”

The course fee is £1,500 plus VAT.

May

The NCTJ announced it had launched a revised syllabus to give students the skills needed to succeed in a ’21st-century newsroom”.

Changes included a new optional course in online journalism and altered rules for accrediting training centres, designed to ‘accredit courses where there is an integrated approach to teaching… that reflects developments in media convergence”.

Courses would continue to focus on the traditional elements of media law, shorthand, public affairs and news writing, and NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher told Press Gazette that the skills journalists need to succeed have not changed, even if the tools have.

‘What we are saying is these are the skills you need to succeed whatever discipline [of journalism] you are in. And students want them because it makes them highly marketable. We would strongly recommend that [colleges] offer new media training.”

But Butcher admitted it may be some time before all NCTJ centres are teaching new media: ‘When you have 40 centres and 60 courses you cannot just do it in a week.”

March

A new college for aspiring sub-editors was approved by the NCTJ.

The Journalist Works is an independent training college in Brighton, based at the offices of the city’s Argus newspaper. The college offered a new NCTJ-accredited, 12-week course covering all elements of journalism production including layout, copy editing and media law.

The company is run by former TV and radio journalist Paula O’Shea, who established the Brighton Centre for Journalism at Brighton’s City College.

She said: ‘Our courses are not just for those who want to become journalists, but for reporters who want to make the switch to the subs’ table. We offer an affordable way of gaining skills the industry needs and wants in a relatively short time.”

The Journalist Works opened its doors on 16 April. One-day taster courses and two-week certificates in sub-editing for reporters were due to b e launched later in the year.

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