BBC to train 550 more videojournalists

VJs will transform BBC newsrooms

 The BBC is to train a further 550 journalists to shoot and edit their own stories as part of a three-year plan that will transform its regional newsrooms.

US videojournalist Michael Rosenblum has been recruited to conduct a rolling programme of courses that will see one third of the BBC’s journalists in the nations and regions trained as videojournalists by 2005.

In three years’ time, 600 staff will have been trained in the digital camera techniques that Rosenblum has championed, including the 53 who took part in last year’s pilot courses.

"Having more videojournalists will allow the regions to have more original and more creative journalism," said the BBC’s head of journalism development for nations and regions, Nigel Kay. "Having staff trained in these techniques will bring improvements in terms of the depth of our local and regional storytelling." BBC chiefs are said to be "watching with interest" to gauge the success of videojournalism in the nations and regions’ newsrooms before making a final decision on how it might be implemented in the news and current affairs departments.

Rosenblum will also be passing on his skills to a number of BBC trainers so that the corporation can eventually develop its own in-house programme.

He is to meet editors and managers to discuss how they want to use videojournalism in newsrooms before the trawl for volunteers to take part in the training begins.

The plan to train-up multiskilled journalists in regional newsrooms was stalled by a pay dispute with the NUJ which insisted a separate pay category be established for videojournalists.

The signing of a deal to established a separate videojournalist grade with a minimum salary £2,000 higher than a standard broadcast journalist grade has paved the way for the BBC to implement plans that it hopes will revolutionise its news coverage.

A further £1m was also announced by director of news Richard Sambrook and head of current affairs Peter Horrocks for investigative journalism.

By Julie Tomlin

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