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Newspaper launches pioneering digital diploma

A north-east daily has joined up with education chiefs to launch a media diploma partnership thought to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Teesside daily the Evening Gazette has signed a partnership with the Stockton Schools consortium for the new creative and media diploma, due to launch in September.

The newspaper is believed to be the first in the country to become involved with such a diploma which is intended to engage young people with digital media.

Plans are also in place to extend the scheme to surrounding local education authorities.

The move will initially see 70 students contribute to the Gazette’s TS hyperlocal websites – Gazette Communities – writing to deadlines on issues of local interest.

They will also have the opportunity to publish content direct to the sites and develop their social networking skills.

The diploma will sit alongside existing secondary school qualifications and equate to between five and seven GCSEs or three-and-a-half A-levels for an advanced diploma.

It provides a mix of traditional learning of formal subjects with practical and vocational training in partnership with local employers.

Evening Gazette editor Darren Thwaites said: “We’re thrilled to be part of this project and to be an integral part of the new diploma.

“The students will benefit from our expertise and advice – and we’ll benefit from their contributions.”

Senior desk editor Lindsay Bruce, who will lead the project for the Gazette, said: “We’ve been very keen to target younger age groups and get them involved and interacting on our websites.

“We’ve already recruited a number of youth bloggers and this builds on that success.”

Laura Langridge, creative and media diploma leader for Stockton, added: “Partnering with the Gazette means our students can learn real business sector skills but what is brilliant for us is that the programme is ongoing so will help them develop personal learning skills.

“I also work as a trainer for the diploma nationally and there’s nothing like this happening elsewhere.

“Although we are the first to come on board, I know there is already interest from other LEAs. It’s a great start for the diploma in Teesside.”

  • Visit for more information about the diploma.
  • Comments

    chris gaynor (19/02/2009 08:39:39)
    So this is another example of newspapers embracing media and digital? You dont have to do a course to know how to liase with social networking sites and web 2.0 media…. If they want tips on blogging, visit or

    Frank (22/02/2009 21:15:18)
    Sounds suspiciously like an ‘opportunity’ for aspiring writers to receive ‘invaluable’ (unpaid) work experience. The only one who seems to profit is the website who fills up their site with free ‘hyper local’ content. So well done to them.
    p.s. you are a chump if you sign yourself up for ‘opportunities’ like these.