Journalism skills report identifies changes to core skills and entry routes into journalism

The core skills of journalism need to be further extended to ensure quality journalism is maintained and the model of entry into journalism via regional and local newspapers is questionable, according to new research into journalism skills.

Emerging Skills for Journalists, the latest research report commissioned by the NCTJ, examines the drivers of changes in the journalism industry and the implications of those changes for the employment and use of journalistic skills.

The report and its findings are based on detailed submissions from journalists, educators, employers and industry bodies from all sectors of the media. It was written by independent research consultant Mark Spilsbury.

Three main drivers of change are highlighted in the report: developments in the business environment; Leveson; and IT and digitisation. These have implications for way journalists do their jobs, the age balance and employment patterns of journalists, the quality of journalism, the wider range of platforms journalists are working across, relationships with audiences, and further multi-skilling.

In an assessment of the implications for training journalists, the report questions the traditional model of entry into journalism: “Consideration needs to be given to whether entry to being a qualified journalist can be achieved in a non-newsroom environment.”

While traditional skills remain vital to journalism, the report pinpoints a number of enhanced skills that are needed to equip the current work force for the demands of the digital newsroom. These enhanced skills include:

  • Ethics
  • Quality control and fact checking
  • IT and digital skills
  • PR and communication strategy skills
  • Entrepreneurialism and freelancing
  • Time management and managing workload skills
  • Audience relationship skills

The report concludes: “For some occupations, change results in jobs disappearing from the economy to be replaced by jobs that emerge. For journalism, it is the nature of the job that changes and we should try to understand, prepare for and facilitate it.”

A copy of the full report is available here.