Top appointments boost NCTJ’s broadcast credentials

The National Council for the Training of Journalists is strengthening its broadcast credentials with two new industry appointments.  Stephen Mitchell, deputy director and head of programmes at BBC News, is the new chairman of the Journalism Qualifications Board, and John Ryley, head of Sky News, has joined the board of directors.

Stephen Mitchell, a director of the NCTJ for just over a year, has taken over from Sunday Post editor Donald Martin as chairman of the Journalism Qualifications Board. The board brings together all the NCTJ’s chief examiners for each journalism discipline and is responsible for the overall structure and content of the Diploma in Journalism and the National Certificate Examination (NCE).

Donald, who has chaired the board since its formation in 2008, has driven forward the NCTJ’s qualifications strategy to develop a ‘gold standard’ for all journalists including the new Diploma in Journalism. He formally handed over the chairmanship to Stephen Mitchell at a meeting on 9 March 2011 and will remain a director of the NCTJ.

Speaking about his appointment, Stephen said: “I am delighted to take on the new role and look forward to working with representatives of the industry and the education and training sector to continue the excellent work led by Donald. In particular I am very interested in the development of the broadcast option that will be introduced later this year.”

The work of the board over the coming months will focus on the review of the NCE and further work on the Diploma in Journalism.  Development of the broadcast journalism specialist option is well under way and will be ready for delivery by pilot centres from September 2011. This new module, which builds on the core skills of the diploma, is designed to equip candidates with all the essential skills to work in radio and television newsrooms. Specific details of the new module, currently under industry scrutiny, will be released at the NCTJ’s qualifications forum at BBC Manchester on 10 May.

Head of Sky News John Ryley attended his first NCTJ board meeting on 10 March.  John began his career as a BBC News trainee before joining ITN's flagship News at Ten programme and then moving to Sky News where, after eleven years with the channel, he took up the position of Head of Sky News in 2006.

Kim Fletcher, NCTJ chairman, said: “We are delighted that Stephen is giving more of his precious time to the NCTJ and is heading up our work on the industry’s journalism qualifications.  John Ryley brings a wealth of broadcast experience and wise counsel to the NCTJ board and has already provided valuable advice and guidance on our future strategy to meet the demands of newsrooms and the changing role of journalists.”