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New course launched to train journalists in Editors’ Code

Tony Johnston

A new distance learning course to boost journalists’ knowledge of the Editors’ Code of Practice has been created by the Press Association.

The online course is designed to help journalists ensure they fully understand the code and has been developed following the creation of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

Students have to complete an assessment at the end of each of the ten modules, where they must achieve a score of 100pc.

The video-based course was developed by media law expert David Banks and it has already been used to train all 1,800 journalists at Trinity Mirror, while it will also be rolled out to all PA’s editorial staff.

The course allows organisations to clearly see who has completed the modules, so they can prove their employees understand the standards in the Code as required by IPSO.

Tony Johnston, head of Press Association Training, pictured above, said that he had come up with the idea for developing the course last year following the creation of the new watchdog.

He said: “It was just something that I started to think about in summer last year when it became apparent that IPSO was potentially going to be a much tougher regulator.

“We tried to find a balance between something that was a meaningful test without it being too difficult.”

Tony added: “We set out to produce a learning product that would enable all journalists to understand their obligations under the code.

“The reporting functionality within the software allows businesses to very easily record which of their staff has completed the course, together with an assessment of their knowledge and understanding.

“Media organisations are obliged to report annually to IPSO on what steps they have taken to ensure compliance by their staff. This e-learning course will demonstrate clearly and simply that their journalists fully understand what they must do to comply with the code.”

The product was developed in partnership with Eliesha Training, a training business with specialist knowledge of e-learning.

Matt Tee, IPSO chief executive, said: “The Editors’ Code is the standard that we hold newspapers to account for. Publishers will want to be sure that their journalists have a good awareness of the Code and can apply it when they are researching and writing articles.

“PA’s online course can be a really helpful resource to help achieve that.”