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Journalists get chance to learn multi-platform skills

Freelance journalists in the North-West are to get the chance to learn up-to-the-minute skills in digital production as part of a new training initiative between the BBC and the University of Central Lancashire.

The journalism college is teaming up with the corporation to develop a cutting-edge course to train journalists in the latest techniques.

It will give 30 freelance and broadcast journalists from the region the chance to get to grips with producing content for a number of platforms – online, TV, radio, and mobile.

The initiative is part of a £2.8m digital and media skills programme funded by the North West Regional Development Agency.

The organisers say their aim is “to develop the Northwest’s media workforce into multi platform thinkers, producers and developers.”

The training is timed in preparation for the move of five BBC departments from London to the new MediaCityUK in Salford. These departments will include BBC Radio 5Live and BBC Sport.

Matt Foster, programme manager at MediaCityUK BBC Training and Development, says: “If I were starting out as a journalist again I’d jump at this opportunity.

“Bringing the industry focused expertise of BBC Training & Development together with UCLan’s great academic reputation for journalism training is really exciting. We’re planning a pioneering course that really delivers the skills journalists will need for the 21st century.”

As well as a paid four-week industry placement the course will include modules on building communities, crowd sourcing, using online social networks, tagging/geotagging and meta and location based journalism.

Mike Ward, head of the School of Journalism, Media and Communication at UCLan, says: “Collaboration is the key to successful journalism in an increasingly connected and shared media space.

“We’re delighted to be working with the BBC to lead this programme. It’s a great combination drawing on the strengths of two institutions who are each expert in their field.”