The NCTJ Level 6 National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ) is the NCTJ’s professional senior qualification that examines all-round competence in a range of essential journalism skills.
It is designed to meet the needs of employers and to provide trainee or apprentice journalists with the knowledge and skills required by a senior journalist working across the media sector.
The NQJ is available to all journalists including senior journalist apprentices working across the media and is tailored to meet different sectors’ needs.
There is flexibility for candidates and employers to choose a pathway relevant to their skills and the area of the media they’re working in.
Currently, there is a news pathway for print, online and broadcast journalists and a production pathway for production journalists. There are also discrete pathways for community news journalists, local democracy reporters and journalists working in specialist brand (magazine) publishing. Additional pathways for other specialist fields may be developed.
Assessments are completed online: there are two exams and an e-logbook assessment which is completed prior to taking the exams.
- Media law and ethics in practice: a two-hour online exam covering key subjects such as defamation, contempt, copyright, privacy etc. This is an open book exam with candidates able to refer to McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists, the Editor’s Code and the Ofcom Code.
- E-logbook of evidence: 10 sector-specific tasks set to specific requirements and all delivered via a bespoke online assessment portal. Topics covered may include handling data, use of social media and analytics, visual journalism, court and inquest coverage and political stories.
- Online practical skills-based exam: candidates will choose which pathway they are taking to sit the applicable online practical skills-based exam. NB: this choice must be made at the point of registration
More details about the NQJ assessments can be found in the document links below.
Many candidates begin their NQJ training when they take up their first job, after gaining the NCTJ’s entry-level Diploma in Journalism qualification at industry ‘gold standard’ (grades A-C in all subjects plus 100 words per minute shorthand, if applicable).
Other candidates may join the programme with no previous journalistic training. Typically, they will be graduates, but will not necessarily have studied journalism as part of their degree. In this case, they will need to gain the essential journalism skills at diploma level before moving on to the more advanced skills, knowledge and behaviours applicable to the NQJ.
Candidates must have at least 18 months’ experience working as a paid journalist (this may be reduced to 12 months in some circumstances) before taking the exams.
Employers may also set their own standard requirements for their journalists to take the NQJ. For example, journalists working in the regional press need to have the ‘gold standard’ Diploma in Journalism including court reporting, public affairs and 100wpm shorthand. Results for media law, court reporting and public affairs cannot be more than five years old.
If you would like to discuss your eligibility to register for the NQJ, please contact us by phone or email. We will assess each individual candidate, validate any prior learning and determine your eligibility to begin working towards the NQJ.