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More top NCTJ graduates now working as journalists, study reveals

Joanne ButcherMore high-achieving journalism graduates are working as journalists now than four years ago, new research has found.

A report for the National Council for the Training of Journalists has revealed 90pc of those who achieved the gold standard diploma on its accredited courses were working in journalism six to 10 months after finishing their course, compared to 86pc of those surveyed in 2015.

The independent research, commissioned by the NCTJ, has also revealed pay for graduates has increased since 2015 – with diploma graduates now receiving a median salary of £22,500, compared to £17,500 four years ago.

However, report author Mark Spilsbury also found that only 66pc of those surveyed in 2015 are still in a journalism-related job now, which “suggests some respondents who started their careers in journalism have left it for other careers, but that there has not been a compensating flow into journalism from those who started their career in other occupations.”

Of the 187 people polled who graduated last year, 27pc were working in newspapers – down 3pc on 2015.

Thirteen percent were employed in the online and digital sector, with 15pc in magazines, 4pc in television and 4pc in radio.

Four-fifths of recent NCTJ students believe the Diploma in Journalism prepared them well for employment, including those not working in journalism-related jobs.

This figure rises to 92pc for those who attained the gold standard, which means they achieved A–C grades in all mandatory modules and 100 words per minute in the shorthand examination, or earned a minimum of 82 credits from their courses if they did not take shorthand.

Joanne Butcher, pictured, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “Employability is one of the most important barometers of NCTJ accreditation. We’re conscious we set a very exacting standard which is challenging and rewarding.

“We are delighted those who completed the Diploma in Journalism, and particularly those who achieved the gold standard, have such a fantastic record for getting the journalism jobs they’ve worked so hard for.”

The full report can be viewed here.

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  • September 5, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    I found my NCTJ (18 weeker back in 2005) more than adequate for setting me up for a job, although as with most careers you learn most of what you need to know on the job.

    I’m pretty cynical about journalism degrees though, I just don’t see what you can learn in 3/4 years that you can’t in six months and to be honest they just seem to me to be an excuse for keeping ex journos in cushy jobs (having taught on one I can speak from experience).

    If you’re ever (really) bored check out some of the staff lists at a uni. “Our new Masters in Multimedia Journalism is taught by John Sub, who was chief sub at the Garstang Weekly Bugle until 1996. The advanced analytics module is taught by John’s wife, Barbara.
    “Applications for a new opening in the department are now being invited from people who already work there, or who know John personally.”

    Fees are 800 grand a year, no experience needed.

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