NCTJ to fund comprehensive journalism research

The National Council for the Training of Journalists is investing in a major piece of research to provide independent, comprehensive and up-to-date labour market information about journalists.

The research aims to update the report - Journalists at work: their views on training, recruitment and conditions - that was produced ten years ago by the Journalism Training Forum. The results of the 2002 research guided the NCTJ’s work on qualifications and training and led to the establishment of the Journalism Diversity Fund in 2005.  More widely, the research has been a vital source of information about the journalism labour market and, ten years on, is still highly regarded – being a frequent source of reference in reports such as the recent Milburn Report on Social Mobility, Fair Access to Professional Careers.

The project will include an analysis of existing national data and information as well as a bespoke on-line survey of journalists in the UK.  The survey will be based on the same questions used in the original research as well as some new topical subjects.

Analysis of existing data is already underway and the online survey will be distributed to journalists during October. The results will be presented at the Journalism Skills Conference in Nottingham on 28/29 November.

The 2012 research reunites the team at the centre of the 2002 initiative. Ian Hargreaves, professor of digital economy at Cardiff University, is chairing the advisory group; Mark Spilsbury is the independent researcher; and the NCTJ’s chief executive, Joanne Butcher, is overseeing the project.  The Professional Publishers Association and the Periodicals Training Council are supporting the research to ensure the magazine sector is represented.  The Society of Editors and the National Union of Journalists have also pledged their support.

Speaking about the importance of updating the research, Ian Hargreaves said: “Since the last comprehensive occupational study of journalism was conducted in 2002, there has been dramatic change. Business models for both broadcast and print are being challenged by the internet and other powerful economic, social and technological forces. 

"At the same time, the Leveson Inquiry has shone a spotlight upon the ethical issues which concern journalists and the people they serve.  I’m pleased to be working with the NCTJ to address the lack of recent information about the journalism profession and I’m sure the results will be as useful and stimulating as they were ten years ago.”