Tag Archives: student council meeting

NCTJ to make qualification ‘more relevant to digital age’

The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) has presented plans to make its qualification more relevant to the digital age, as reported by Journalism.co.uk in December last year.

Senior board members discussed the proposals with current students at the third annual NCTJ Student Council, held at the Guardian‘s Kings Cross offices on Friday.

The day also saw the NCTJ preview a sleek new website which they hope to have online by the end of February.

Chief executive Joanne Butcher outlined a vision to broaden the NCTJ into a converged training body providing a ‘gold standard’ multimedia journalism qualification.

She said: “The core skills remain the same as ever, but the new qualification will have more of an emphasis on multimedia.”

The new qualification, which will be taught from September, will see integration of public affairs and media law examinations and the introduction of broadcasting into the qualification.

Shevon Houston, events and website manager for the NCTJ, previewed the new website for the 43 delegates who attended. She said the “fresh, dynamic, easy to navigate” interface would replace the current cluttered design.

The new site includes a searchable database of accredited courses, as well as a student and trainee login area which people enrolled on NCTJ programmes can use to check exam results and find job vacancies.

There is also a forum for students and trainees to debate issues.

Plans to modify the current industry-benchmark shorthand exam were also discussed.

At present, all candidates must be able to take down 100 words per minute for four minutes with a maximum of 10 errors. But, in order to test candidates’ listening skills, from September they will have to identify a quote within a passage and take it down with perfect accuracy to pass the test.

Ciaran Jones is a trainee journalist at Cardiff University. He keeps a blog on travelling and journalism and you can also follow him on Twitter.

Read more from Journalism.co.uk on the NCTJ student council meeting at this link

Jobseeking advice doled out at NCTJ student council meeting

Journalism students were told that they needed to be “persistent nosey gossips” by Society of Editors’ executive director Bob Satchwell, at the NCTJ’s student council meeting at Guardian News & Media on Friday.

The annual event brings together students from NCTJ-accredited courses, NCTJ staff and board members as well as working professionals.

Students were given the chance to question the panel of experts, who offered advice on becoming employed.

Managing editor of the Sun, Graham Dudman, said not to submit a CV that is more than one page long.

“You’re not that interesting,” he said, “keep it short and to the point. That is where you are going to score.”

Dudman also claimed that if there are any spelling mistakes in an application it will instantly go in the bin.

Editor of Easyjet magazine, Jeroen Bergmans, echoed Dudman’s comments on spelling mistakes, adding that some even spell his name wrong.

Dave King, editor of the Swindon advertiser advised trainees that the one essential quality is shorthand, stating that “without 100wpm you won’t get a look in”.

Other advice given was to avoid looking lazy by addressing a cover letter with the word ‘sir’ instead of the editor’s name. Brien Beharrell, editorial director, Newbury Weekly News Group warned that if the phrase “I have a passion for writing” appeared, the applicant would not hear back from her.

Beharrell said she would rather see a demonstration that students are writing regularly, whether for a local newspaper or a university magazine.

Dominic Ponsford, editor of Press Gazette, said what impressed him most was someone who was “fantastically enthusiastic”. He suggested writing your CV as if it were a news story itself, with the most eye-catching information at the top. Ponsford also said you need to have “lots of good ideas”.

The meeting included an open discussion about how to improve the NCTJ in which the board showed a preview of its new website to be launched at the end of this month.

The new site is aimed at being more user-friendly and will also include a forum for student discussion and login areas for students and trainees.

Other future changes will also be seen in the transformation of the NCTJ into a multimedia qualification. Chief executive of the NCTJ, Joanna Butcher said: “The debate about what the core skills should be for multimedia journalists will intensify this year.” Citing the group’s annual report, Butcher said a new board will be set up to develop a “multimedia accreditation strategy”, as previously reported by Journalism.co.uk from the Society of Editors conference in 2008.

The reaction from students and trainees to this news was mixed. While many students on the three-year courses supported the idea, others on the short-courses were worried that they would be “spread too thin”, adding that there was not enough time to learn it all.

There is already an option to include a video report in a portfolio and multimedia entries are encouraged on all courses.

Rebecca Hughes, Centre for Journalism, University of Kent. Twitter: @beccihughes.

Read more from Journalism.co.uk on the NCTJ student council meeting at this link