Speaking during the closing ‘2020 Vision’ session at the Society of Editors Conference 2010 yesterday, she referred to what was needed more than anything else from future trainees looking for recruitment opportunities.
“They need the right attitude,” said McGeoghan, who had told me earlier how she’s currently recruiting eight new trainees.
“Are you going to love that job? Do you remember the old Ready Brek TV ad? I want trainees who you can almost see glowing with passion and enthusiasm.”
And she’s so right.
As outgoing Aberdeen Press & Journal editor Derek Tucker brutally intimated on Monday, there are too many ‘meejah’ courses run by too many educational establishments opening doors to a torrent of students who end up as luke-warm candidates for the real world.
He was lambasted by academics for being so rude and, of course, we all know that Tucker takes no prisoners when he’s got a bee in his bonnet.
But other editors were just as insistent that at a time when newspapers and journalists are going through the toughest times ever, the last thing the industry wants or needs are lame-duck entrants.
“We’ve got to be much harder on those applying,” Whaley told me, “we’ve got to make damn well sure that it’s a real vocational choice for those coming into the industry.
“We’ve got to make sure that we recruit the right people for the right reasons at the very start.”
Coverage of her contribution so far has focussed on a promised review of the NCE examination for would-be seniors, due for completion by next spring.
But speaking during the ‘Journalists for the future’ session on Monday, Butcher also revealed new requirements the NCTJ has insisted upon for its diploma courses across the UK from this September.
As well as updated detail for the modern world on the hallowed basics of law – shorthand, public affairs and newsgathering – courses wanting to retain accreditation now also have to offer a range of specialist options.
Students must select two from the following: media law for court reporting; video journalism for online; production journalism; sports journalism; the business of magazines; and (from September 2011) broadcast journalism.
It is these more stretching diplomas that will make sure would-be trainees think a little more carefully before deciding ‘I want to be a journalist’, and that they leave more fully equipped if they get on the courses.
And, hopefully, the rejuvenated syllabus will encourage those colleges and universities that are serious about preparing students for real opportunities to seek the ‘gold standard’ accreditation from the NCTJ.