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Ethics training vital for journalism students, seminar told

Training in ethics for journalism students is important to the whole industry, a seminar held by the National Council for the Training of Journalists was told.

NCTJ vice-chairman Brien Beharrell, who is editorial director of the Newbury Weekly News Group, said the reputation of her papers and journalists was important and trainees needed an understanding of ethics before they started work.

She told an audience of journalism trainers at London seminar: “The industry needs it, we need it and the trainees need it.”

Brien added that if journalists made a mistake: “the news goes round like wildfire, and you can’t go back to that source again without some very hard work.”

The NCTJ is introducing a module in practical journalism ethics into the syllabus for its Diploma in Journalism from September and this was discussed during the seminar.

NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher said the module would initially be integrated into the existing units of the diploma, including the Reporting exam and e-Portfolio, rather than though a separate ethics exam, although that remained a possible future option.