Digital course is first for college

Darlington College’s media department is to start a digital photojournalism course in September, which will include training in the moving image. It will last five months and be intensive, writes Jean Morgan.

Backed by picture editors of national and regional papers and sponsored by 10 National Association of Press Agencies members, the course will go to the National Council for the Training of Journalists for approval next week. The first batch of students will number up to a dozen, who have reached A-level or degree level.

Tony Metcalf, head of journalism at the college, said its status as the only Centre for Vocational Excellence in journalism and the media in the North had helped it get a Government grant from the Learning and Skills Council. It has already spent the best part of £500,000 on equipment and staffing, including a digital, three-camera TV studio.

Mark Parry, a director of the Leeds news agency Ross Parry, is a tutor and his brother David is helping the college write and deliver the material.

“It is a highly digitalised and very, very modern environment,” said Metcalf. “We’ve always had good strength in print journalism, but it was evident we needed to expand into other more specialist areas.”

Currently the only photojournalism course in the country is run at Sheffield, where they have been teaching digital photography alongside “wet” photography for 10 years. Head of photojournalism and press photography, Paul Delmar, said progress at the college had kept pace with the profession and 100 per cent of its candidates for the NCEs in May would present digital portfolios.

Jean Morgan

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