Employers, tutors and students back new broadcast journalism qualification

Media professionals, educators and students came together on Friday to discuss the new broadcast journalism module developed by the NCTJ for the Diploma in Journalism.

Tutors from centres across the UK, and industry representatives from ITV and Sky, were among those who attended a seminar at ITV London Television Centre to debate the latest specialist option to be offered as part of the NCTJ’s Diploma in Journalism.

Catherine Houlihan, head of news at ITV Anglia and NCTJ chief examiner for broadcast journalism, chaired the event and led the open forum where tutors were given the opportunity to share ideas, seek advice, and discuss issues concerning the broadcast option with other tutors, NCTJ examiners and employers.

She said: “An NCTJ qualification means a safe pair of hands and a solid grounding in journalism. The diploma now provides a national standard and benchmark for entry-level broadcast journalism trainees.”

“The development of this module builds on the multi-platform skills in the diploma to provide trainee broadcast journalists with the skills required in today’s TV/radio newsrooms.”

Dave Betts, news editor at Sky News, described the introduction of a broadcast module as “absolutely fantastic”. He added employers wanted to know trainee journalists had been taught “the basics”, such as interview techniques and Ofcom regulations.

Award-winning broadcaster and lecturer in broadcast journalism at the University of Kent, Richard Pendry, told delegates of his experience piloting the course. “We think the fact that students need to achieve such a high standard makes the NCTJ option valuable for both students and employers,” he said.

The University of Ulster, Salford University and the University of Sussex in partnership with Brighton Journalist Works also piloted the module with students on their NCTJ-accredited courses.

Mark Longhurst, Sky News presenter and lecturer in broadcast journalism at the University of Sussex, commended the “flexible approach” to the delivery of the module. "Broadcasting is a fast-moving and demanding industry with new challenges presented constantly to both employer and the prospective journalist,” he said. “The involvement of the NCTJ in training broadcast journalists has brought their experience and expertise to the sector.” 

The NCTJ also invited MA student Alex Williams, who studied the module at the University of Sussex, to share his and his fellow students’ experience with delegates.

“The NCTJ broadcast journalism module was enjoyable and covered the key skills needed to work in a competitive industry. The exams were tough and rigorous, as I expected for the NCTJ, and this course has given me the knowledge and confidence to pursue a career in broadcast journalism,” he said.

Delegates debated a range of topical issues including course content, exam material and marking criteria. 

The double module covers all aspects of TV and radio journalism and is designed to equip students with the essential skills to work as trainees in broadcast newsrooms.  It must be studied alongside the core journalism skills of the diploma including reporting and newsgathering skills, essential media law, essential public affairs, shorthand and portfolio.

Images: Mark Longhurst (above) and Alex Williams (below)