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TV man Austin praises work of NCTJ

The National Council for the Training of Journalists officially opened its new offices yesterday, heralding a “new era” for the organisation.

Opening the HQ, guest speaker Mark Austin said the NCTJ had played a key role in the training of journalists, and would continue to do so.

  • NCTJ chairman Kim Fletcher (left), Mark Austin and Joanne Butcher outside the new offices
  • The ITV News man, who began his career at the Bournemouth Echo, said that when he started out he was faced with a choice of studying for an English degree at Exeter University or an NCTJ course at Highbury College in Portsmouth.

    He chose the NCTJ course and said it had stood him “in good stead”.

    He said: “You learn the basics of journalism.

    “It gives you a solid grounding regardless of whether you stay in newspapers or go into broadcasting.”

    He added: “Journalism is changing very quickly, particularly for broadcasting as well as newspapers.

    “We face real challenges from other sources of news, but to set ourselves apart, the way we are trying to do it, is by giving added value and quality journalism.

    “If the NCTJ can continue to focus on quality journalism then I think we as broadcasters and Fleet Street newspapers will be very well served.

    “It would be a sad day if it ever lost sight of that.”

    NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher told an audience of around 100 journalists, editors and journalism trainers that she was “thrilled” the NCTJ had moved to The New Granary in Newport, Essex, from its outdated Latton Bush offices in Harlow.

    She said: “The move is a symbol of a new, confident NCTJ, without saying goodbye to the values of journalism.”

  • The opening reception also celebrated the NCTJ’s recent recognition as a professional awarding body by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.