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Training Matters: A post-Leveson check-up for the industry

Karen Fowler-Watt is associate dean of journalism and communication at Bournemouth University. Prior to this, Karen worked as a senior BBC journalist on BBC 4’s ‘World at One’ and ‘PM’ programmes, spending time in the United States as Washington bureau producer and as a field producer in the Middle East, Northern Ireland and Moscow.

Here at Bournemouth University we are looking forward to hosting the annual NCTJ Journalism Skills conference on 27-28 November. This gathering of delegates all with a common interest in journalism education and training is always filled with lively debate. It is a chance to share good practice, exchange ideas and discuss key issues in the industry. Our own students will be filming, blogging and tweeting all the action!

This year the conference will kick-off with a session on Journalism and the Digital Landscape, inspired by the latest findings on the state of the creative industries. The panel will comprise Pete Clifton from Microsoft, Peter Bale, CNN and Liisa Rohumaa, formerly at and now a senior practice fellow at Bournemouth.

This will set the scene for a conference, which will engage with the key challenges facing those involved in training the next generation of journalists. Changing business models and the impact on skills of economic constraints will be debated by a panel of regional news editors: Tom Thomson from Herald and Tribune Group, our own Andy Martin from the Bournemouth Echo and Frank le Duc, who will give the perspective from local TV, as well as input from the Huffington Post. The first day will close with important context and key challenges laid out for discussion – and the chat is bound to go on into the night as we all gather at the art deco Print Room in Bournemouth for the awards dinner. This year our host will be home-grown ITV news anchor Mark Austin, who started his career at the Bournemouth Echo.

Day two will look ahead to ways that we can lead and direct the shape of journalism education; the changing nature of core skills, such as writing and subbing will be scrutinised by Ian Murray, president of the Society of Editors and editor in chief at the Southampton Daily Echo, along with Jon Sopel from BBC News. The conference will close with a debate about the key issue of ethics and how we train responsible professionals, with speakers from The Guardian (Sandra Laville, crime correspondent), CNN’s digital business desk (Ollie Joy) and the BBC College of Journalism (Andrew Wilson). It is always good to get together to chat, share ideas and reflect on what we do – but never has it been more important to do so than now, when the pace of change has quickened and the challenges are more diverse.

Meanwhile, I am pleased to say that the appetite amongst young people to train as journalists shows no sign of dwindling – we hope that the 2013 NCTJ Journalism Skills Conference will give the profession a glowing health check and a boost of confidence for the post-Leveson era. We all look forward to seeing you and trust the sun will shine here in Bournemouth!

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  • November 5, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Love the quote about the ‘appetite to train…’ You certainly need an appetite to attend training conferences! The ‘two days’ is actually two one-hour sessions on each. Otherwise it’s: Day 1: 12.30 reception and buffet lunch; one hour session; tea and cakes; one hour session; drinks in bar; gala dinner. Day 2: Brekky; one hour session; tea, coffee and pastries; one hour session; lunch; beggar off.
    A typical NCTJ Journalism Skills conference. Cheers!

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