New NCTJ board to devise 'gold standard' qualification

A new board of senior industry executives and chief examiners has been appointed to decide the future of the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ “gold standard” qualifications.

The council has enlisted Glasgow Evening Times editor Donald Martin to chair the board, which will discuss what shape the council’s qualifications will take in a multimedia age.

NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher has said the council’s aim is to make its courses – which range from three-year undergraduate degrees to 20-week postgraduate diplomas – the industry’s “gold standard” in journalism education.

Speaking after the board’s first meeting last Friday at Newsquest York, home of the York Press, he said: ‘I want this board to take a completely fresh look at the structure, content and assessment of journalism qualifications we offer to ensure they continue to meet the demands of modern newsrooms.

‘Innovative training and qualifications are crucial to help accelerate the effective transition newsrooms are making from single to multi-platform publishing.

He continued: ‘With demands increasing for multi-skilled journalists and new developments in technology, the NCTJ has broadened its range of qualifications, modernised its assessments and integrated the testing of on-line journalism skills.

‘However, the debate continues about balancing new and old journalism, what should be core and optional, and how people can be trained with the right skillsets – and mindsets.”

Martin, who has been an NCTJ director for more than a year, is joined on the board by David Rowell, group editorial development executive at Johnston Press, and the NCTJ’s chief examiners. They include: Mark Hanna, law; Steve Phillips, for photography; Steve Nelson, for newspapers and Mandy Ball, for public affairs.

The board will be responsible for the overall structure and content of both the preliminary Certificates in Journalism and the National Certificate Examinations.

In October last year the NCTJ announced it had effectively merged its qualifications with the vocational journalism NVQ, which had been widely used by newspaper groups for senior reporter exams but has now been replaced by the NCE.

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