60th birthday bash
Thursday 7th July 2011 - 1 comments
Throwing a party can be a fretful business; who to invite, who not to invite, who will come, who won’t.
For a charity too, there’s a tricky balance to be struck between profligacy and parsimony. Even calling it a party – rather than the more modest sounding reception – raised some conventional eyebrows.
I remember attending the NCTJ’s 50th bash as a guest – it was a ‘luncheon’ at the Liberal Club. These memories serve as a reminder of how much the NCTJ has changed in just ten years let alone 60.
For our 60th, we decided we shouldn’t be afraid of having fun and celebrating our transformation. Unashamedly, we booked a trendy bar, served bubbly, barbecue food, designer cup cakes and luxury ice-cream, and guests departed with tongue-in-cheek party bags of anti-wrinkle cream from Dior and Clinique.
We are, of course, grateful to our sponsors for giving us an excuse to justify this extravagance. We chose two young businesses in Saffron Walden – Love Little Cakes and The Saffron Ice Cream Company – and had help from Devonshire Terrace and House of Fraser.
The shorthand outlines on the cup cakes were the evening’s talking point. I watched with amusement while shorthand purists Kim Fletcher, our chairman, and Doug Wills, the Evening Standard’s managing editor, happily debated the merits of Teeline and Pitmans. My first email today was a kind thank you note from Doug for “A great party…especially the cakes” and a happy birthday attachment – in Pitmans of course.
Rather than inviting the well-meaning old guard, civil servants, politicians or quango queens, our guest list was a medley of editors, their bosses, trainers, educators, examiners, students and my wonderful team. These are the people that make the difference to training, many giving up their time and lending their expertise freely.
Photos of a selection of partying guests are on our website despite Chris Rushton’s suggestion that “all pix will be destroyed”, my second received email of the day.
It was poignant, with the NCTJ reaching 60, that there was news of two forthcoming retirements. Rob Kirk, an NCTJ alumnus who has served Sky News and the industry’s training so well for many years and with such youthful zeal I still can’t believe the news, and Mike Ward, who has led the growth of the journalism department, and particularly its cutting-edge research expertise, at the University of Central Lancashire.
And in Kim Fletcher’s address, he referred to the poignancy of the NCTJ’s celebration of quality training and journalism standards with Sky News reports of the fast-moving hacking scandal providing the back drop.
These are challenging times for journalism for so many reasons. They make carrying the torch for excellence over the next ten years even more important. Thank you to everyone who shares our values and contributes to our work and for joining us to celebrate.
Joanne Butcher, chief executive, National Council for the Training of Journalists
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Comment by Pip Clarkson. Posted on 08/07/2011 17:10:22
What a fantastic 60th party! Well done to all at the NCTJ, not just for a terrfic evening, but also for running a first-class organisation providing high standards of journalism training. Despite the current news agenda, it's great to know the NCTJ is still at the forefront of good journalistic ethics - perhaps send a few notes to Murdock and co.