NCTJ's Oxdown faces final disaster

The town twinned with disaster, Oxdown, could face the ultimate calamity – being razed from existence.

National
Council for Training of Journalists students for decades have been
asked to report on imaginary car crashes, fires and explosions that
have all taken place in the fictional town.

But now, as part of a
wide-ranging shake-up of the NCTJ’s qualifications and assessment
criteria, the body is thinking about doing away with Oxdown altogether.

Speaking
to Scottish editors in Glasgow, NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher
said: “We feel that the use of Oxdown is outdated, and it is time to do
something new.”

But a fight to save Oxdown has already begun, with Society of Editors Scotland secretary Donald Fullarton leading the charge.

He
said: “Using Oxdown may not be ideal – for a start it is a town with a
population of 130,000, whereas in Scotland that would be a major city –
but at least it offers a level playing field.

“Whatever you do decide to do will certainly impact greatly on the teaching of basic news writing.”

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