Virtual college leads BBC’s training push

By Caitlin Pike

The BBC has launched a virtual college of journalism and is doubling
the amount of money it spends on editorial training in response to
recommendations in the Neil Report last summer.

The plans, announced by BBC deputy director-general and chair of the
BBC's Journalism Board, Mark Byford, include a doubling of investment
in journalism training from £5m to £10m a year by 2008.

A
director of training will be appointed and a virtual college of
journalism providing interactive learning modules, workshops and
seminars will be set up.

Journalistic standards at the BBC came
under intense scrutiny during the Hutton Inquiry, which examined Andrew
Gilligan's reporting of Dr David Kelly's claims about the "sexedup
dossier" for the Today programme.

In his report, Ron Neil, former
director of BBC News, highlighted the need for training in dealing with
sources and allegations, live broadcasts and notetaking.

The
plans represent a fundamental change in the Corporation's approach to
training. In addition to core journalistic craft and production skills,
the BBC's new curriculum will also focus on ethics and values, and
"knowledge A Crown Court judge has praised the Cambridge Evening News
after overturning a section 39 order he imposed twice during a child
abuse trial.

The first ban was imposed by Judge Nicholas Coleman
at Peterborough Crown Court to stop the paper naming a mother who shook
her six-week-old baby girl so hard she was brain damaged.

Editor
Murray Morse wrote to the judge explaining how it would be virtually
impossible to report the full story without naming the parents. He also
argued that the child was so young at the time of the trial, she would
not be harmed by the publicity.

The ban was subsequently lifted
but then reinstated on appeal by Cambridgeshire County Council because
of the affect it might have on the baby's A new parenting magazine
aimed at parents of children aged from two to 10 years old is being
launched this week.

My Child magazine will be published six times
a year by PSP Communications for an annual subscription of £31.99. It
will offer parents news, information and expert advice on matters such
as education, nutrition, health and finance. The first edition covers
childhood obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a guide
to the national curriculum.

Former D-Notice Committee chairman
Nick Wilkinson and accountant Ian Nichol have both been appointed as
public members of the Press Complaints Commission.

Wilkinson will
replaced Dr Arthur Hearnden on the commission and Nichol, a member of
the Criminal Cases Review Commission, will replace Bishop John Waine.

The commission's job is to decide whether newspapers have breached the Editors' Code of Practice.

It has 17 members, seven of whom are from the press and 10 have no connection with the industry.

building" on key themes and issues such as Europe and the Middle East.

The
new programme moves away from the idea of a residential college and
aims to mirror innovative examples of journalism training in the USA.

The
new style of training is already under way. So far 10,000 members of
staff have completed the BBC's online editorial policy course and 8,000
have attended special Neil workshops.

All journalistic staff in
the BBC will be given a minimum of 20 hours' training a year, and there
will also be enhanced training at editor level in ethics, values and
dilemmas.

Byford said: "This is an exciting and ambitious
initiative which will, we hope, set a gold standard for broadcast
journalism training in the UK. We want to offer our staff career-long
training and development to support them in today's complex
journalistic environment, to maintain high standards and quality, and
to provide the best and most trusted journalism in the world."

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