Tim Bishop is the BBC’s head of region in the East of England and is about to move to become chief executive of The Forum Charitable Trust in his home city of Norwich.
He began his journalism career with Westminster Press on the North Herts Gazette series beginning with a five month NCTJ course at the group’s Hastings training centre on the south coast.
Tim said: “I was really lucky to get a job with an employer who funded my training, who believed in really good continuing training of its staff, and who set really high standards. Everything I’ve learnt has stood me in good stead until this day. Even now I can instantly recite key points of the law I learnt by heart and was helped to understand then, and I always feel anyone who doesn’t have that solid NCTJ backbone to their career is at a fundamental disadvantage. You can often tell the NCTJ trained journalists from the others pretty quickly.
“If you can’t do shorthand you will always struggle to cover court as effectively as the trained journalist next to you. Something that was said to us early has always stuck with me – you need to know the law to know what you can do, not what you can’t. We were recently in court challenging key rulings in a high profile case, without the solid grounding that I got it would be far more difficult to be confident in tackling so many of the issues that have come my way.”
Tim went from the Gazette series to the morning Eastern Daily Press in Norwich. He was the first hands-on news editor of the EDP, later lecturing on NCTJ courses at Highbury College, Portsmouth before becoming editor of the Norwich Evening News. He moved to the BBC as an education correspondent before becoming a radio station editor, the BBC’s newsgathering editor and then editor of the multi-award winning BBC Look East regional programme through a series of major stories including the Soham and the Suffolk murders. For the last ten years he has been the BBC’s head of region in the East of England.
“I’ll be honest I didn’t enjoy the slog of shorthand but I had no doubt my editor was absolutely right to insist on me getting to 100 wpm fast and equally no doubt he was right to say I would need to do better than that. Some aspects of the way our training was run taught me as much about how not to manage as how to manage but I’ve got no doubt that the NCTJ’s core curriculum is as relevant today as it was then and journalism and journalists are the better for it.”