New broadcast option outlined at Journalism Skills Conference

The second day of the 2010 Journalism Skills Conference in Cardiff featured an update on the gold standard qualifications and information on upcoming developments, including the introduction of the broadcast journalism option.

Catherine Houlihan, head of news at ITV Anglia, presented more details of the new broadcast journalism option to conference delegates. Catherine is the first chairman and chief examiner for broadcast journalism and is working closely with the NCTJ’s broadcast consultant, Philip Harding, to develop the specialist option, which will be launched in 2011.

During her presentation, Catherine said that “the NCTJ gave me a great start in my career” and continued to say that the broadcast journalism option will reflect the same high standards and excellence as all other NCTJ-accredited courses.

The broadcast journalism option will be available from September 2011 and the NCTJ will be recruiting pilot centres to deliver the qualification. It will cover the additional skills required to operate effectively as a broadcast journalist that are not covered in the diploma’s core mandatory subjects.

Lyn Jones, NCTJ head of qualifications spoke about the introduction of the new Diploma in Journalism that is now available at 26 accredited centres thanks to the support of NCTJ-accredited course providers.

The diploma features new core skills assessments in reporting, essential public affairs and essential media law, and new specialist options in videojournalism for online and broadcast journalism. A further option of business of news is also being considered.

Lyn explained that the sub-editing module has been renamed ‘production journalism’ to more accurately reflect the course content that includes layout and design. She also spoke about the first set of diploma exams due to start this month and provided information on the diploma workshops for tutors that will be held next year.

In addition, Lyn talked about the upcoming NCE review that will be undertaken to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the industry as a professional qualification. Part of the review will include employer and trainee focus groups to ensure the exam reflects real working practices in the newsroom today.

Following Lyn’s overview, Amanda Ball, the NCTJ’s principal examiner, spoke about the work of the exam boards and journalism qualifications board in the development of the diploma.

Amanda talked about her role as principal examiner and the responsibility of the Quality Assurance and Standards Committee to ensure all NCTJ qualifications delivered are rigorous, fair, transparent and of the highest quality.