The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) is to offer students the chance to study a specialist module in business journalism.
The module will form part of the the NCTJ’s diploma in journalism and will give students a chance to study business and finance reporting in greater depth.
The programme of study is being developed by Steve Dyson, a journalist and media consultant, supported by an advisory panel including Robert Peston, Paul Addison, European head of training and education for Bloomberg and Ian King, business editor of The Times.
In a release, Stephen Mitchell, the chairman of the NCTJ’s Journalism Qualifications board, said: “The economy continues to be the single most important news agenda item in the media.”
“While all journalists should have an understanding and ability to report business and finance stories, this specialist option will provide an opportunity for students and trainees to gain a broader and deeper understanding of business and finance reporting.”
… new coverage of broadcast regulation; new material on privacy and the media, including injunctions and phone hacking; new guidance on journalists’ use of social media; and further coverage of online journalism issues.
The book is authored by Mark Hanna and Mike Dodd, the release adds, who “will present and discuss these changes with tutors at the seminar”.
Press Complaints Commission chairman Lord Hunt will give the keynote speech at the London-based media law seminar on 30 March. According to the NCTJ, he will be giving “his views on the Leveson inquiry and the future of press regulation”.
Due to the snow and resulting disruption to travel Journalism.co.uk is having to miss out on the NCTJ’s Journalism Skills Conference in Cardiff, which starts today.
For coverage on the events you can visit the Journalism Diversity Fund website where a full report from two journalism students from Cardiff University, Ben Bostock and Katey Pigden, who will be covering the debate with reports, video and photos., will be available after the event.
You can also keep on top of tweets about the event by following the hashtag #JSC or follow the NCTJ’s Cover it Live blog here.
The National Council for the Training of Journalists has paid tribute to its former head of accreditation Stephen Chambers, who passed away last weekend after a long battle with cancer.
Chambers joined the NCTJ in July 2006 and was head of accreditation for two years, continuing to be involved with the council as a consultant until he stepped down last year due to ill health, the council said.
A former NCTJ trainee, Stephen began his career on the weekly Hunts Post before working for the Bristol Evening Post and the Daily Telegraph. In the late 1970s he moved into television journalism and worked for ITN, Thames Television and Anglia TV, where he presented the regional evening news programme. Before joining the NCTJ he worked for six years as a media relations and public affairs consultant in his native Northern Ireland.
In tribute the NCTJ’s chief executive Joanne Butcher said he was a “much loved member of the NCTJ team, a wonderful colleague and a friend who I will miss terribly”.
His distinguished track record in newspaper journalism and successful broadcasting career made him a huge asset to the NCTJ. As head of accreditation he worked closely with course leaders and editors, a role he found both intellectually stimulating and fun. He believed passionately in the importance of journalism standards and loved giving back to the cherished trade that had provided him with so much over the years.
The forum also discussed the importance of the industry accreditation, which it claimed was “crucial for maintaining high standards and maximising employability in the face of spending reductions”.
Concerns about the impact of the education funding cuts on the journalism industry were also raised by the new cross-media accreditation board, which met for the first time in September, with members calling for the protection of accredited courses. Following the debate which ensued Journalism.co.uk began a poll to measure ongoing opinion on the value of the NCTJ accreditation. At the time of writing the majority (47 per cent) had responded that accreditation is ‘useful but not necessary’, while 27 per cent feel it is ‘unnecessary’. The remaining 26 per cent have split evenly between viewing the accreditation as ‘essential’ and ‘in need of updating’.
The awards recognise the work of students completing NCTJ-accredited courses and trainee journalists/photographers with less than two years experience. They are split into five categories:
features of the year
images of the year
A total of 14 students and 15 trainees have been selected for the shortlist from more than 100 entrants.
There are also three performance awards based on exam results; NCTJ Student Journalist of the Year, NCTJ Photographer of the Year and NCTJ Reporter of the Year. The awards will be presented at the Society of Editors Conference in Glasgow on 15 November.
The value of industry body accreditation in journalism has been at the centre of debate this week, following a meeting of the NCTJ’s cross-media accreditation board last week, where members raised concerns about the impact of potential education funding cuts on the journalism industry.
Quoted in a report from the NCTJ Professor Richard Tait, director of the Centre of Journalism Studies at Cardiff University, argued that accredited courses must be protected in the face of cuts.
While the NCTJ is quite right to insist on sufficient resources and expertise so that skills are properly taught and honed, education is a competitive market, and NCTJ courses are expensive to run. In the likely cuts ahead, it is vital for accredited courses to retain their funding so that they are not forced to charge students exorbitant fees; otherwise, diversity will be further compromised.
Speaking to Journalism.co.uk about his comments further this week, Tait said he was voicing real concerns that courses which meet industry standards may be more at risk because of their expense:
There has been a huge expansion of courses about journalism and about the media, but not all of them are accredited. These are not real journalism courses, they are journalism studies courses. There’s nothing wrong with them at all, some of them are very good courses, but they are not a professional training of journalists.
It’s really important that whatever happens to journalism education we protect those courses that provide this professional training of the journalists of the future.
If you’re running a journalism course that does not have a digital newsroom, does not teach videojournalism or students how to report online or what podcasts are, what’s the use of that? Some universities have invested heavily in these areas. But when money gets short people will say “do we really need this digital newsroom, do we need to teach shorthand etc”. There is a danger of people saying “frankly bad courses might be cheaper”.
Just days after the meeting, Brian McNair, former professor of journalism at Strathclyde University and now working at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, happened to discuss his decision to pull Strathclyde’s journalism course out of NCTJ accreditation in 2008 in a post on allmediascotland. His comments, which were picked up by media commentator Roy Greenslade, have since prompted huge debate about the value of the body. In his post McNair said accreditation is not enough:
In a world where (…) the supply of traditional journalism jobs has fallen by as much as 30 per cent (and those that remain are scandalously low-paid), the high flying journalist of the future needs more than NCTJ certificates in Public Affairs and Media Law to get on. He, or she, needs talent, imagination, a spirit of independence, an understanding of IT and social networking and their impact on media, culture and society in general; everything in short, that the NCTJ curriculum squeezed out with its relentless stress on externally-decreed learning by rote.
Many, maybe most, successful journalists never passed an NCTJ exam. NCTJ-certified journalists are being sacked, perhaps as I write, sometimes by editors who sit on NCTJ boards and declare their allegiance to the “gold standard” of training. The old world of print journalism in which the NCTJ was formed is passing into history, replaced by content-generating users, citizen journalists and all those journalistic wannabees who make up the globalised, digitised public sphere in the 21st century.
But while Tait reiterated McNair’s call for talent to be the measure of a journalist, he insisted that accreditation is a vital tool for students:
The problem is that there are a huge number of courses which have got the magic word journalism in them. If you’re a student and you’re looking at this multiplicity of courses and trying to work out what one is up to a certain standard, that’s absolutely essential.
What you’re already seeing in journalism is that it is becoming a profession where who you know is becoming more important than what you know. It should be about talent. I think that if you don’t have the accreditation process, the rigorous approval of courses by accreditation bodies, how can the students work out what to do?
What do you think? Let us know in the comments or by voting in the poll below:
The sporting body is sponsoring a new award for the best performing candidates in the NCTJ’s sport journalism exam. The winner of the award will cover the Championship play-offs, while second and third place will report from the League One and League Two play-offs respectively.
The winners for the 2009-10 exam will be announced next month. Candidates for the forthcoming academic year will have the chance to report from the 2011/12 season play-offs.