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Training Matters: We want your views on Diploma in Journalism review

NCTJ logoIn this week’s blog, Lyn Jones, head of qualifications for the National Council for the Training of Journalists, introduces the latest review of the Diploma in Journalism.

The challenge to ensure that journalism courses and qualifications deliver people with the skills at the appropriate level, across multiple platforms, has never been greater. The way in which journalists gather information and data has changed, and traditional news outlets have combined with electronic platforms, each requiring their own writing styles.

Journalists often find themselves required to be writer, editor, publisher and filter.

It is in this climate that we are undertaking a major review of the structure of the Diploma in Journalism, our pre-entry qualification, to ensure it is continuing to meet the needs of the industry.

The diploma, which replaced the Certificate in Journalism in 2010, consists of core modules and specialist options with a focus on multimedia and multi-skilling. These modules have been regularly reviewed and updated and specialist options, such as broadcast journalism and business and finance journalism, have been developed to broaden the qualification.

The NCTJ’s approach has been to integrate the relevant new and conventional skills; and not to treat them separately or as a bolt-on in our training and assessments. It’s a combination of traditional and digital news gathering tools. But the time has come for a more in-depth look at the qualification.

What we do know is that core journalism skills remain vital and valid. Editors tell us journalism has been, and continues to be, about finding and telling a story, understanding audiences, having good news sense. Accuracy and attention to detail have become even more important with fewer checks on pre-publication content.

While the latest research into the job destinations of NCTJ Diploma in Journalism students showed that the current diploma content continues to be valid and received a high satisfaction score, there is a case for more flexibility. It showed that our former students are not only serving the ‘core’ areas of newspaper and magazine publishing and broadcasting, but also online and digital, PR and corporate communications and other sectors of the wider economy.

The NCTJ has always sought input from those working in the industry to inform the design, structure and content of our qualifications. No one knows better than those who work at the coalface what skills are needed in a newsroom.

That is why we are asking for your views to inform the latest review of the diploma. How do we ensure that flexibility doesn’t lead to unacceptable compromises on standards and quality? It’s a tough balancing act and we need your continued leadership and involvement to make sure we make the right decisions.

An online survey has been distributed to journalism employers across all sectors of the media as part of the review. This survey is available below for anyone working in the industry who feel they have something to contribute.

The findings will help to inform a proposal for change, which will be discussed and debated at the Journalism Skills Conference in Birmingham in November, an event not to be missed.

Click here to contribute to the online survey.

Click here to book the Journalism Skills Conference.


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  • August 4, 2015 at 9:37 am

    “…to inform a proposal for change which will be discussed and debated at…”
    Does that include the introduction of experienced subbing of the NCTJ’s strangulated grammar?

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  • August 4, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Make sure the review listens to people who know, understand and accept where the industry is going, what audiences nowadays actually read and what kind of staff newspaper owners want to employ – not those who are steadfastly and desperately holding on to an idea of what it used to be and arrogantly criticising anything remotely moving away from that.

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  • August 4, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Make sure those multiple platforms include retraining for other professions such as teaching, medical, translators, computer nerds, etc etc because there aren’t enough jobs going round for all the young hopefuls currently being churned out by the journalism training centres.

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  • August 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    This is the NCTJ’s third attempt (to my knowledge) to “glam up” the course with video, digital etc.
    All previous attempts have been rebuffed but it keeps on trying.
    What the regional press wants – and this is where most people on the courses go to – is high basic journalism standards.
    We can teach them digital etc when they get here, but 100 wpm shorthand, good knowledge of law and local government and the ability to write stories is key.

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