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It's tough out there admits training chief

The chairman of the National Council for the Training of Journalists today admitted it was “tough” finding a job in the media at present.

But Kim Fletcher stressed that candidates who skilled themselves for the industry’s digital revolution stood the best chance of success.

Speaking at the opening of the annual Journalism Skills Conference this lunchtime, Mr Fletcher said: “The convergence of media is happening in front of us. It’s not a theory, it’s a reality.

“Newspaper editors, broadcast executives, website managers want all the skills. We have to be a training body that reflects that.”

“It’s tough finding a job in the media, but it’s a little less tough when you have a qualification to offer – and a tough qualification at that.

“For many students and trainees, the NCTJ examination is the first test of their lives that forces them to contemplate failure.”

Chief executive Joanne Butcher spoke about the new far-reaching programme of change that the NCTJ is currently working on and the development of the Council into a strong and well-equipped multimedia organisation.

“The debate about what the core skills should be for multimedia journalists in this digital age will intensify. We will finalise our proposals for the most radical restructure our preliminary exams in recent times and will set up a new board to work to develop a multimedia accreditation strategy,” she said.

The council’s annual report published today revealed there are now 68 NCTJ accredited courses, delivered at 40 universities, colleges and private centres across the UK.

During the year a record number of 565 trainees sat the National Certificate of Examination, the qualification for professional journalists of which 303 passed.


Sceptical Simon (03/12/2009 13:52:51)
So the NCTJ are working towards multimedia – are they the only organisation slower than newspapers to recognise that they needed to get digital savvy to survive?

Reporter (03/12/2009 14:10:25)
Isn’t it just slightly over-egging it to say “…the NCTJ examination is the first test of their lives”. It’s not really the be-all and end-all is it. I think what any prospective journalist needs to ask themselves is – is it worth paying for the NCTJ exams? Forking out hundreds of pounds for the likes of Mr Fletcher’s purse is all well and good but will it get you a job?

Poor Hack (03/12/2009 14:19:38)
So why doesn’t the NCTJ wake up and smell the coffee? Instead taking on record numbers of trainees for an industry that is in terminal decline why doesn’t it look at its old and irrelevant training practices which seem to get further from reality with each year?

Journo1 (03/12/2009 15:31:37)
So will people who have passed the old-style NCTJ prelims get free multi-media training? Thought not.

Brian (03/12/2009 16:27:43)
Why can’t webmasters be webmasters and journalists be journalists?
A good webmaster and coder is an entirely different skillset from a good journalist but increasingly they are trying to converge the two and it rarely works well.
What they really mean is that the person that is prepared to do multiple jobs on less money will be the ones that thrive.

Laura Place (03/12/2009 16:39:20)
While there are so many experienced, flexible and enthusiastic journalists out here unable to get work in the industry, doesn’t it seem heartless to encourage thousands of students to train for a profession that has no need for them?

MoneyMakingRacket (04/12/2009 13:19:05)
Hang on, so they’re saying it’s tough out there and candidates skilled for the industry’s digital revolution stand the best chance of success… What complete and utter rubbish. Do NCTJ qualifications concentrate on the “digital revolution”. The answer’s no. Full marks for that, by the way. OK, there’s one section at the end of the news writing exam – which most people fail anyway – asking to identify digital interaction for stories. But that’s not reflective of the industry one single, tiny bit. It’s laughable. Kim Fletcher may as well have said: “Hi kids. You need to be good with multimedia now. But by the way, the NCTJ don’t teach any of that. After all, we’re dinosaurs -well, very expensive dinosaurs.”

Paul (04/12/2009 17:54:39)
It is the colleges/universities who are doing the recruiting – not the NCTJ. It is the responsibility of the colleges/universities to teach students the multi-media skills that are needed.