NCTJ adds online element to practical journalism exams

The National Council for the Training of Journalists is to shake-up the National Certificate Examination by introducing an online element to news exams for the first time.

Students taking the news interview section on 28 September will now have to write a story for the web based on a mock interview with that day's dateline – ready to be uploaded onto a newspaper website right away. Previously, students had been asked to write a story 'for tomorrow's paper". The rest of the exam will remain the same.

Steve Nelson, NCTJ journalism chief examiner said: 'Candidates are already submitting stories from websites for the logbook. This evolvement of the news interview section recognises the changing newsroom practices and presents candidates with the opportunity to write in a slightly different style to that normally required in the NCE. I am confident that candidates will easily adapt to this new requirement."

The NCE is the senior NCTJ examination, taken by journalists who have been working for at least two years. Applicants have to submit a portfolio of their work including many different types of stories and take two exams.

The NCTJ said that candidates' brief for the NCE exams had always been to 'write in style they would use for their own paper'and it was felt that given the explosion in online journalism in recent years, an online story would better reflect how reporters normally work.

The NCTJ is running refresher training courses for anyone taking the NCE this year where sample practice exams with the new format will be available. Anyone unable to attend can get a copy by email Beverley.rhodes@nctj.com. For more information see www.nctj.com.

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