Diploma in Journalism review and proposal announced at NCTJ Journalism Skills Conference

A draft proposal to revamp the NCTJ’s Diploma in Journalism aims to integrate digital and traditional skills and cater for all sectors of the industry.

The proposal, presented to delegates for the first time at the NCTJ’s Journalism Skills Conference, was put together following a consultation with employers from newspapers, magazines, broadcasters, PR and communications and online media companies. It also included views of heads of journalism collated at centre accreditation forums as well as those with particular needs.

The level 3 qualification, introduced in 2010, has continued to evolve to address convergence and digital journalism across the media. Following the latest digital developments and the integration of the diploma into the Trailblazer apprenticeship scheme, it was decided to launch a review of the structure and contents of the qualification in 2015 to ensure it is continuing to meet the needs of the industry.

Introducing the rationale for the proposed changes, Neil White, editor-in-chief of the Derby Telegraph Media Group and chairman of the NCTJ journalism qualifications board, said:

“It’s important that the NCTJ remains relevant among journalism teaching and we want the diploma to be more inclusive perhaps than it is already. We want it to be looking out towards the various different strands of a journalism career.”

”What I need to say is that we are not abandoning shorthand, we are not abandoning public affairs - these are still seen as very important facets of what a journalist may do, but we are trying to open out the diploma to other spheres of journalism. We have to be inclusive.”

David Rowell, NCTJ trustee and member of the journalism qualifications board, said: “We are aiming to introduce a structure and content that is relevant and gives enough scope and flexibility to provide trainee journalists with the skills they need to operate across all sectors of the media and other industries too.”

The proposal includes changing the structure of the diploma to include mandatory skills: essential journalism, essential journalism ethics, and essential media law and regulation; sector skills: news journalism, magazine journalism, broadcast journalism, PR and communications, advanced digital journalism and international journalism; and elective skills: essential public affairs, shorthand, photography for journalists, media law court reporting; sports journalism and business of magazines.

The name and learning requirements of the qualification will remain the same: students will complete at least 650 guided learning hours and achieve 82 credits to pass achieve the diploma.

The consultation process will continue until Christmas, and a final draft is due to be agreed by March 2015, with changes beginning to come into effect from September 2016.

The proposal and supporting documents are available to view here. If you would like to provide feedback, please email lyn.jones@nctj.com.

Photography by BBC Academy/Mark Robertson