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Journalism courses could get ‘Ofsted-style’ ratings says former editor

Neil WhiteA system of Ofsted-style ratings could be adopted for journalism training courses, a former daily editor has suggested.

The idea was touted at the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ Journalism Skills Conference in Portsmouth this afternoon.

Former Derby Telegraph editor Neil White mentioned the proposal as part of a range of ideas during a discussion on how the NCTJ’s accreditation standard should be developed.

Neil has been undertaking research into the accreditation of courses in his new role as an editorial consultant for the organisation, interviewing lecturers, students and other industry figures.

Discussing his research, he asked conference delegates: “Should we be saying some courses are brilliant and some not so brilliant?”

He added: “Some felt that was out of order and [accreditation] should be a plain ‘yes or no’. I’m stuck between the two on that and would appreciate your thoughts.”

One group involved in a breakout discussion which followed voiced opposition to the idea, describing it as “unfair.”

Instead, they proposed a rewards scheme for accredited institutions recognising the employability and diversity of their courses.

At an earlier session during the conference on journalism skills, two experts gave their views on the value of shorthand.

Amar Singh, chief content officer for football news and statistics website Squawka, and James Baggott, chief executive officer of motoring media company Baize Group, were quizzed on how the skill ranked when considering new employees for roles.

Amar replied: “I work with journalists who don’t have it and they’re excellent journalists.”

James, who began his career in the regional press, added: “I love the fact we still teach it and I think it’s an important skill, but if someone comes to me and says they haven’t got shorthand, that’s not going to put me off employing them.”

At last year’s conference, it was announced shorthand would become a non-compulsory element for the Diploma in Journalism.

Neil told delegates today: “That’s a debate that’s been had and we’ve moved on.”


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  • November 25, 2016 at 10:33 am

    they could start with rating the standard of basic English (not American).

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  • November 25, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Isn’t this all rather irrelevant as there’s so little left of the traditional regional press that a whole new set of skills disciplines and thinking is needed, yesterdays skills are of little value in the modern media world where maximising technology and its usage is key to the future of journalism, its akin to accountants debating the merits of an abacus, a slide rule or learning complicated mathematics in the world of the calculator.
    A whole new approach is needed to the training and suitability of people for jobs in 21st century publishing in my humble opinion.

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