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NCTJ in ‘biggest revolution in history’ says boss

The National Council for the Training of Journalists is undergoing the “biggest revolution in its history” as it develops into a fully multimedia organisation, its chief executive has said.

Joanne Butcher, writing in the charity’s annual report for 2009/10, said the NCTJ was moving with the times as it sought to keep pace with the fast-changing multimedia industry it serves.

She said the highlight of the year for the organisation was the launch of its new multimedia qualification, the Diploma in Journalism, which will fully replace the existing preliminary exams at all course providers from next September.

And Joanne said because the economic downturn had hit the industry hard and led to an over-supply of new entrants, the training body was “even more focused on quality and efficiency.”

This has meant the NCTJ has not increased its exam fees and has been able to create a new website, give students access to their exam results online and launch a qualification for senior sports journalists.

Writing in the annual report, Joanne said: “Just as the industry is changing, so the NCTJ is in the midst of the biggest revolution in its history. We are investing in a broader range of charitable activities to raise journalism standards and are developing into a truly multimedia organisation.

“The highlight of the year was the launch of the industry’s new diploma in journalism. Everyone was involved in its development, led by top employers in all media, journalism schools, and students and trainees.

“At its heart are the fundamental skills of high quality journalism in newspapers, magazines, online, television and radio.

“Journalism skills have converged and so ‘new’ and ‘traditional’ skills are now fully integrated into training to a national standard.”

She added there were lots of new projects planned but the most important of these was the review of the NCE which is due to take place.

And NCTJ chairman Kim Fletcher stressed the importance of maintaining high standards of journalism in the annual report.

He said it was ‘terrific’ that barriers had come down and anyone could publish but trusted sources and recognisable brands were those most people turned to.

The report, which was presented at the organisation’s Journalism Skills Conference, showed 625 trainees sat the NCE during the year, which was passed by 324 of them, and 16,290 NCTJ examinations were sat in total.