News of the World giving media training to all staff

Wade: says venture is paying off

All News of the World staff are being given training sessions in media law and other media disciplines because editor Rebekah Wade believes it is not only the journalists who bring in stories for the paper.

Small groups of staff are also being invited to lunch with Wade and other executives to talk over ideas.

The catalyst for the initiative seems to have been the number of Press Complaints Commission rulings and court cases recently involving celebrities – an area which is a core part of the paper’s coverage.

Small groups of journalists, secretaries, personal assistants and messengers have been attending training sessions for the past three months.

Wade told Press Gazette: "I decided that it would be a good idea because reporting staff are always out on the road or they are in the regions and when you are the editor you don’t always get the chance to interact.

"It’s nice to be able to talk to editorial assistants, someone who builds the page or who opens the letters, because they all have one thing in common – – they care about the paper. It’s to make sure they all know they can bring in stories.

"The law changes all the time and the PCC changes all the time and it’s a good idea for everybody to brush up on everything, including the internet and all the library services we have. They are hugely important in resourcing a story and being able to get information quickly. If people are taken out of their normal day and told, ‘Right, you have two hours on internet training now’, it’s brilliant – and it’s working."

Wade says the venture is paying off already. Although ideas which have sprung from the conversations may not be acted on immediately, she believes they build into a common theme and it is good for the staff to meet together.

Managing editor Stuart Kuttner said: "We believe the interests of the newspaper are bigger and wider than the journalistic team. Every one of the staff can alight on potential stories. They all have the opportunity to take part in the seminars and we think it serves to bring people on – to widen their horizons."

Tom Crone, legal manager of News International, has led the media law courses. Guy Black, director of the Press Complaints Commission, has taken the staff through PCC rulings, complete with videos. The marketing and circulation departments have made presentations.

The whole programme is overseen by Robert Warren, who has retired from the News of the World but remains as the paper’s ombudsman.

Around 10 members of staff from all departments of the newspaper attend the regular buffet lunches with Wade, deputy editor Andy Coulson and other executives. They are drawn not only from the Wapping HQ but from the regions – Ireland and Scotland have been well represented.

 

By Jean Morgan

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