ITN news presenter Mark Austin has said the future of journalism is in good hands after meeting a group of budding reporters.
The National Council for the Training of Journalists held its Student Council forum on Friday at the Press Association in London, which was attended by 44 representatives from courses, and the ITV News at Ten co-presenter was the keynote speaker.
At the event, he said NCTJ training was “brilliant preparation for a career in journalism” and after meeting the students, he tweeted: “Just spoken to NCTJ students in London. Good audience, sharp questions. Journalism in good hands.”
Mark is a former NCTJ student, completing his training at Highbury College then becoming a reporter for the Bournemouth Echo before moving into broadcast journalism.
He had just returned from reporting on events in Egypt and spoke about his experiences there, including using satellite phones and small video cameras to broadcast live without the authorities knowing.
But Mark said the basic journalistic skills he used out in Egypt were the same as when he was a newspaper reporter.
He told students: “I used the same tools when reporting in Egypt as when working on old stories with the Bournemouth Echo.
“The things you’re doing now are going to be fundamental to your careers.”
And this theme was echoed in a question time debate with a panel made up of Brien Beharrell, editorial director at Newbury Weekly News Group, Andy Cairns, executive editor of Sky Sports News and Jonathan Grun, editor at Press Association.
The panel members were asked what attributes they look for in new recruits and were unanimous that trainees need the basic journalistic skills more than anything else.
They agreed the most important skill for young journalists was the ability to find a story and tell it in an engaging way, also emphasising the importance of good writing, passion for the job and shorthand.