AddThis SmartLayers

NCTJ announces changes to prelim exams

The National Council for the Training of Journalists has announced a number of changes to its preliminary exams, including the introduction of an optional sub-editing exam.

The training body is also phasing in a new News Writing exam and Portfolio to replace the Handout and Newspaper Journalism exams, which it says have been developed in close consultation with editors, trainers and trainees.

The two-hour News Writing exam will test a trainee’s ability to write a clear and accurate news story to a specified length and to deadline, and also ask them to produce two short news stories and five follow-up ideas.

Examiners will assess the content and accuracy of the stories as well as intros, story structure, use of language and the relevant use of quotes.

The Portfolio will require trainees to provide evidence of a range of reporting and writing skills and to submit stories produced during work experience or whilst on course, and will be made up of ten real-world news stories and one 500-word feature.

Chief examiner David Gledhill said: “We have introduced the Portfolio to ensure that trainees are given the opportunity to gather news stories and experience ‘real-world’ reporting during their training.

“Trainees will also be able use their Portfolio as a showcase for prospective employers. It complements the News Writing examination perfectly.”

In addition, the NCTJ is introducing a new subbing option at a number of centres offering accredited courses, and has appointed Cathy Duncan, assistant editor of the South Wales Evening Post, as chief examiner of the new qualification.

She said: “For some years now increasing numbers of sub-editors have entered the industry via non-traditional routes. Now there is an exam system, and pre-entry training, in place to allow these journalists to achieve a recognised standard in their work.

“Production journalists will be increasingly important in the years ahead as newspapers and their websites work more closely together.

“Whatever developments the future brings, core subbing skills will remain crucial, and the NCTJ has now built a framework to recognise this.”

Trainees will be able to sit the subbing exam along with the core reporters’ exams of Media Law parts 1 and 2, Public Affairs parts 1 and 2, News Writing, Portfolio and shorthand, and it will also be made available to reporters who already have their NCTJ preliminary exams but would like to move to the subs desk or to subs who have been taken on without any journalism qualifications or experience.

A subbing NCE is in the final stages of development and is expected to be delivered from summer 2007.