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'Training standards key' to multimedia future – editors' chief

Maintaining training standards is the key to converging multimedia newsrooms, according to the Society of Editors’ chief Bob Satchwell.

And the body will continue to work with industry groups to ensure the next generation of trainee journalists is well-equipped for 21st century news gathering.

Bob, who is the Society’s executive director, said: “Over the last three or four years we’ve probably seen the biggest change in the media.

“The development of multimedia platforms has seen more change than there’s been in the 35 years of my career.

“It’s important to recognise that the training which happened in the past is not necessarily the best kind of training which is required by media organisations in 2008.

“What we’re concerned about is talking to media organisations with an open mind to reflect these changes.”

The Society of Editors will continue to work closely with bodies like the National Council for the Training of Journalists and the BJTC, its broadcast journalism equivalent.

Central to all this work is maintaining the same standards of journalism which the industry has held valuable over the years.

Bob added: “What we’re trying to do is talk to all of the organisations involved in training.

“All the interested parties, editors, potential trainees and trainee journalists are aware of the standards that are required in converging media. How that will be achieved will become clear over time.

“It’s not about skills disappearing at all. The basic skills of journalism have to be maintained whatever the news platform they will be working for.

“In the future, as the media organisations become multi-platform organisations they want to be sure that the journalists they are hiring have they skills necessary in order to meet the requirements of these platforms.

“The NCTJ will be requiring people to have training in multimedia skills and they will be adding extra bits to the syllabus.

“The NCTJ syllabus is setting standards which will mirror the requirements of what’s happening in the industry.”