Packed schedule announced for Journalism Skills Conference 2009

An MP who, according to Total Politics magazine, writes the best political blog in Westminster and Scotland, will be speaking on the second day of the Journalism Skills Conference at Hampden Park.

Tom Harris, Labour MP for Glasgow South, is well known in political circles for embracing the opportunities presented by the internet by daily updating his award-winning blog And another thing. NCTJ-trained he gained his qualifications as a reporter on The Paisley Daily Express.

Tom Harris joins an illustrious line-up of speakers in a packed events programme at the Journalism Skills Conference which takes place on Thursday and Friday this week.

The programme will start with lunch on Thursday 3 December with a welcoming address by Kim Fletcher, NCTJ chairman.

Kim Fletcher said: “Journalists today need to know how to work across all platforms and NCTJ qualifications must reflect this need.

“The Journalism Skills Conference promises to be a lively, entertaining event in which delegates will have far-reaching input on the future shape of NCTJ qualifications.”

The opening address will be followed by a Question Time debate on the future of quality multimedia journalism. The debate will be chaired by Aasmah Mir, BBC Scotland presenter of Good Morning Scotland and well-known to Radio 5 live listeners.

John McLellan, editor of The Scotsman, and Alex Girlis, head of training at the BBC College of Journalism, will join Tom Happold, head of multimedia at The Guardian, Gordon Macmillan, head of news with STV, and Margaret Strayton, group editorial manager, Newsquest, on the Question Time panel.

Delegates will then be invited to tour BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay headquarters, a £188m centre which was opened in 2007 as one of the most modern, state-of-the-art, digital broadcasting facilities in the world.

Following the tour delegates will stay on at Pacific Quay for the conference reception, dinner and presentation of awards to the top performing and most improved NCTJ accredited courses. The Chairman’s Award for services to journalism training will also be presented.

The following day the conference will move to Hampden Park, Scotland’s national stadium and the athletics venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

At Hampden Park delegates will be invited to contribute to interactive sessions focussing on media trends, the gold standard for training and the future structure and content of qualifications for multimedia journalists.

Delegates will be welcomed to the second day of the conference by Joanne Butcher, NCTJ chief executive, before Tom Harris speaks to delegates.

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors and a director of the NCTJ, will then chair an interactive session on Media Trends and Media Futures. Bob will be joined by panel members Martin Boyle, Head of Journalism at Cardonald College, Sarah Niblock, Head of Journalism at Brunel University, and Darren Thwaites, editor of the Middlesborough Gazette.

Donald Martin, Editor-in-Chief of the Herald and Times Group, a director of the NCTJ and chairman of the Journalism Qualifications Board, will join chief examiners Steve Nelson (journalism), Amanda Ball (public affairs), Mark Hanna (media law) and Marie Cartwright (shorthand) for the next interactive session focussing on the Quality Gold Standard.

A group debate which will focus on a new structure for multimedia journalism qualifications will take place before a final feedback session facilitated by Sarah Rowlands, Head of Journalism at Staffordshire University and a member of the Journalism Qualifications Board.

All the latest news from the Journalism Skills Conference will be uploaded regularly to the news pages of the NCTJ website.