Journalists at Work blog: Journalists want to continue learning skills

By Mark Spilsbury, NCTJ research consultant

The recent Journalists at Work research told us that more than half (55 per cent) of journalists had undertaken some learning over the last 12 months. In addition, we know that nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of journalists feel that they need new, or additional skills to improve their efficiency.

The most common area where journalists said they needed new or additional skills are social media analytics, followed by video editing, Photoshop, data journalism, investigative research tools and essential media law.

There are clear patterns to this desire amongst journalists to acquire new skills. Those who are employed (rather than freelance) and working full-time (rather than part-time) and those working in a digital role or sector are more likely to have undertaken training. It is also the case that those who have undertaken training are more likely to believe that they have skills gaps which need addressing than those who have not.

These individuals are more likely to be in jobs in which learning is more likely, as these jobs are more likely to face change. But it’s also possible that some individuals may be facing some kind of inertia relating to new skills: either being de-motivated, facing learning constraints and barriers or not seeing the value of increasing their skill levels or widening their skills base.

Across the wider economy, research shows that there are individuals who do not (or cannot) access training – either lacking motivation, appropriate guidance, or financial resources to access training or just not seeing the advantages of increasing their skills.

It is the case that people in lower level occupations, with lower levels of skills (possibly those most in need of improving their skills) are the least likely to receive training. But in a highly qualified, highly skilled occupation such as journalism, the concern is that some individuals may find their skills increasingly out of date, and increasingly unable to cope effectively with the new world of journalism that is emerging around them.

Help and advice is needed to upskill these individuals so that they can more effectively engage with the new models of journalism that are emerging.

You can read the full Journalists at Work 2018 report here.

The NCTJ offers a range of short courses for those who wish to update their skills. Click here to find out more.