AddThis SmartLayers

US-born journalist takes on top NCTJ role

An American-born journalist has been appointed as the new head of accreditation for the industry’s main training body, the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

Michelle Patient, a former associate editor of Time magazine, replaces Tony Loynes who resigned last autumn after a short spell in the role.

She takes up her new role with the charity today and will be based at the NCTJ’s offices in Newport, Essex.

The head of accreditation is responsible for managing the council’s relationships with universities, colleges and other journalism training providers.

Announcing the appointment chief executive Joanne Butcher said: “Michelle’s extensive experience, contacts and passion for journalism make her perfectly suited to this important and challenging role.”

Michelle added: “I am thrilled to be joining the NCTJ and look forward to working with training and education providers to achieve and maintain a world-class standard in journalism.”

A graduate of Rutgers University, New Jersey, Michelle also holds a master’s degree in modern cultural history from the University of York.

She began her career at American Heritage, and was appointed associate editor at Time in London in 2003. Most recently she has worked in public relations as associate director at Peretti Communications and account director at Neville McCarthy Associates.

Other changes at the NCTJ see award-winning Newbury Weekly News editor Brien Beharrell step up to the role of vice-chairman of the council.

She succeeds Liz Page who stepped down from the council at its AGM in December following her appointment as a general manager at the National Trust in York.

Brien said: “This is a time of great change for news reporting. The quality training the NCTJ insists on is vital to maintaining high standards of journalism in all media.

“I will continue to urge student and trainee journalists to get out, talk to people and find the stories that really matter, while at the same time upholding the integrity and public trust which has always been the hallmark of British journalism.”

New members of the NCTJ’s board of directors include Stephen Mitchell, deputy director of BBC News and head of the news programmes department responsible for Panorama and the Today Programme.

As previously reported, Northcliffe’s South-East regional editor Alan Geere has also joined the board.


Anonymous (29/01/2010 08:55:53)
Let’s hope they shake up this outdated training body once and for all!

PracticeWhatYouPreach (29/01/2010 09:20:23)
Does this woman have NCTJ qualifications?

Journo (29/01/2010 09:46:32)
I loved Kim Fletcher’s guide to journalism published some years back, before he joined the NCTJ.
In it he said how as an editor he wasn’t bothered about qualifications, it was about the person’s hunger, drive and enthusiasm.
I wonder if he still sticks to that principle?

Walter Greenwood (29/01/2010 09:57:26)
It’s not the NCTJ that is outdated. It’s Anonymous himself.. The NCTJ has made enormous strides in recent years under the direction of Joanne Butcher to provide training for multia-media journalism. Although I ceased last year to have any official connection with the NCTJ, I do know how much effort has been made to involve people at all levels in preparing for tomorrow’s media.

concerned (29/01/2010 10:27:16)
I would also like to know whether she has NCTJ qualifications – but I assume not, or the fact would be highlighted.
So the NCTJ’s head of accreditation is living proof that you can be a successful journalist without an NCTJ qualification
Is this really the message they want to be sending out?
I don’t think the NCTJ is outdated, I do think it seems to lack the courage of its own convictions. Very disappointing

Mandy (29/01/2010 10:45:02)
Walter – would you be kind enough to outline the organisation’s enormous strides to provide training for multi-media journalism? Is it the multimedia element shoved to the end of the news writing exam? Or is it the optional video element nestled at the end of the portfolio? To me – and the many people who pay ridiculous amounts of cash to sit these exams – they’re not enormous strides. They’re small steps.

Trainee Journo (01/02/2010 08:58:29)
Anybody who has the slightest contact with the NCTJ will know it is working hard to build up the multimedia content of their qualifications. (This has been reported in-depth on holdthefrontpage). This doesn’t just happen overnight and they are consulting with editors, trainers and students to maintain quality and get it right. It’s a fine line, you can’t just tell students to do a bit of video and a bit of web reporting and then give them an A-grade.
Students still have to know how to source news, build contacts, know their media law, write a decent report and yes, they will still need to know shorthand. Multimedia skills are important but so are determined, on-the-street practical reporting skills.
The NCTJ is not outdated..if it was, why would editors demand a full certificate in journalism from trainee applicants? And yes this is the case – as a trainee reporter who looked at many job adverts, I would know. My editor wouldn’t have called me in for an interview if I hadn’t passed all my prelim exams.

Ill-taught (01/02/2010 10:34:14)
I hope it’s improved since the days of my course: hard-drinking, deadbeat lecturers taught us little or nothing about real journalism, sending us journalistically naked into our first news room. Ultimately, my career stalled and I left the profession.

Poor_Hack (02/02/2010 13:21:08)
Trainee Journo, so if the NCTJ have so much attention to detail, why do they persist with the NCE which routinely fails the majority of candidates? The NCTJ never seem to take on board the criticism levelled at the NCE that it really has no relevence to the day to day job of a trainee. What happened to structured, progressive, vocational training (ie the NVQ)? Everyone accepts that formal training has to be a part of the entry process, but why should senior status be judged in such an arbitrary way?