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Uni pays journalism students £500 compensation over accreditation failure

A university has paid journalism students £500 each in compensation after their course failed to receive accreditation.

The University of Sussex has confirmed the payments have been made to students on its journalism course, which is not accredited by either the National Council for the Training of Journalists or the Broadcast Journalism Training Council.

HTFP understands the university has not sought NCTJ accreditation, and withdrew from the BJTC’s accreditation process.

However, the institution says it will pay for students to take the NCTJ’s correspondence course via distance learning if they wish to do so.

uni sussex

Youth news website The Tab reported the university “apologised in face to face meetings” with affected students.

Emily Hume, a recent graduate of the course, told The Tab: “I was just really annoyed that I had put all the work in for nothing. News days didn’t count towards our degree and the module that was made up of them in third year was awful.

“I felt like I couldn’t develop my skills because the module just consisted of creating pieces independently with very little feedback and no guidance from tutors.”

Another unnamed graduate added: “A journalism degree doesn’t cut it. The editor of a local newspaper that I’d done work experience for told me he would never hire someone who didn’t have a NTCJ or BJTC qualification.”

The university confirmed to HTFP the compensation awards of “at least” £500 had been made to each affected student.

A University of Sussex spokesman said: “The journalism course at Sussex provides a strong grounding for our students: we employ practitioners, and we offer a placement year opportunity, as well as a wide number of work based learning opportunities for our journalism students. This has included experience with regional and national media organisations including the BBC.

“We provide an extensive number of masterclasses throughout the year with experts in the field which have included Marcus Ryder (BBC) and Clive Myrie is an honorary graduand and role model for staff and students. The vocational elements of our training include production modules ranging from how to produce images and sound, to voice training and news package production. We offer broadcast and multimedia practice opportunities which also extend to documentary as well as news.

“The course was advertised as ‘seeking accreditation’ but achievement of accreditation was never guaranteed. In recognition of our decision to withdraw from the accreditation process, we awarded compensation of at least £500 to each journalism student at Sussex.

“In addition, we have told those students that we will pay for them to take the NCTJ correspondence course at any time, including several years after graduation should they choose to.”


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  • July 22, 2019 at 10:53 am

    I’ve just looked at their staff list – lots of pointy headed professors in cultural studies etc but no obvious sign of anyone with journalism experience which is the only thing that journalism students actually want/need.

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  • July 22, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    For the record, Sussex University’s annual tuition fees are £9,250.

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  • July 23, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Started work on a local newspaper in the 80s without a degree but with NCTJ qualifications. Quality of reporters fell sharply when degrees became minimum entry qualifications. Problem with going to uni directly after school, is that, while it might be a positive advantage for other professions, it cuts young people off from communities – the life blood of local stories. They spend three or more years with people their own age, background, economic opportunities, interests and career aspirations – no wonder they show no interest in or aptitude for writing about working class life. Journalism is a relatively easy job – you learn most of what you need to know from NCTJ, old hacks and working on the job. Degrees look like an expensive con to me!

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