Journalists still pursuing excellence

Trainee journalists are still striving to achieve the gold standard of training, supported by their publications, despite redundancies and restructuring in the industry.

On March 6, 234 trainee reporters and six sub-editors sat an NCTJ National Certificate Examination. Passing the day of tests brings senior status to trainee journalists, marking them out as having achieved the industry’s gold standard.

The number of reporters sitting is a 27 per cent increase on the 184 who sat in March last year. The number of candidates sitting the exam for the first time is also up 19 per cent – 128 of last year’s 184 sat for the first time, compared to 152 first-timers out of 234 in tomorrow’s NCE for reporters.

While those in employment are progressing with their careers, a 49 per cent downturn in the number of trainee journalists registered with the NCTJ so far this financial year indicates that fewer new entrants are being employed by newspapers.

Steve Nelson, NCTJ chief examiner for journalism, said: “Despite uncertainty and instability in the industry, it’s good to see journalists are still striving to achieve the gold standard of the NCE. In tough times, when jobs are scarce, the best insurance for a future in the industry is to prove your worth – show you’ve got the skills required of a modern journalist, and that’s what passing the NCE means. That is what tomorrow’s trainees are doing and I wish them all the best.”

“The decline in registrations was to be expected considering the recruitment freezes, redundancies and closures that are affecting virtually every newspaper office in the country. It is now more important than ever that those embarking on a career in journalism are properly trained and ready to take advantage of any upturn in the economy and also any new opportunities that will be created in the media. When things pick up, employers will be looking to trainees who have the full range of skills.”