The editorial director of the award-winning Newbury Weekly News Group has been appointed vice-chairman of the National Council for the Training of Journalists. Two new directors, both NCTJ alumni, have also been appointed as part of the Council’s strategy to boost the influence of all media and training sectors.
Brien Beharrell joined the NCTJ’s board of directors in 2006 and during this time has played a prominent role in the Council as a director and trustee. She succeeds Liz Page who stepped down from the Council at its AGM in December following her appointment as a general manager at The National Trust.
NCTJ vice-chairman and board appointments announced
Brien said: “This is a time of great change for news reporting. The quality training the NCTJ insists on is vital to maintaining high standards of journalism in all media.
“I will continue to urge student and trainee journalists to get out, talk to people and find the stories that really matter, while at the same time upholding the integrity and public trust which has always been the hallmark of British journalism.”
Kim Fletcher, NCTJ chairman, said: “Having developed a very successful career as a journalist and editor, Brien has never forgotten the importance of her training and she has gone on to inspire and nurture the careers of all the successful journalists who have worked with her.
“The launch of a radical new structure for multimedia journalism qualifications makes this a very exciting time for the NCTJ. With Brien as vice-chairman as well as all the other directors, staff and supporters, I believe we have a strong team in place to manage this change successfully.”
Brien, who did her preliminary training at Highbury College, joined the Newbury Weekly News Group as a trainee reporter in 1975 and, after gaining her NCE, was appointed deputy editor in 1984. Notably Brien edited the newspaper at the time of the 1987 Hungerford Massacre. She was appointed group editor in 1997, joined the board of the Newbury-based publisher and printer as editorial director in 2003 and launched the company’s daily news website, newburytoday.co.uk, in May 2005.
Brien has also recently completed a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) at Henley Management College.
The two new directors and trustees appointed to the board at its AGM are Alan Geere and Stephen Mitchell.
Alan Geere, is regional editorial director of Northcliffe Media’s South East division with responsibility for publications across Kent, Essex, Surrey and Sussex.
As well as a successful career as a journalist and editor, Alan has worked in training and education for more than 20 years, most recently as journalism course leader at the University of Worcester and principal lecturer in journalism practice at the University of Westminster. He was a trainee reporter at the Essex Chronicle Series and trained at Harlow College.
Stephen Mitchell, BBC deputy director of news and head of the news programmes programmes department, will advise and guide the NCTJ multimedia strategy to equip journalists with the skills to work across all platforms, in print, broadcast and online.
Stephen started his journalism career in newspapers and completed his NCTJ training at the South Wales Echo and the Thomson Regional Training Centre in Newcastle. He joined the BBC radio newsroom in 1974, the start of an illustrious career in both radio and television journalism which has included head of BBC radio news and deputy head of BBC news programmes.
Kim Fletcher, NCTJ chairman, added: “Both Alan and Stephen bring a wealth of skills and experience to the NCTJ and will provide essential advice and guidance in shaping NCTJ multimedia qualifications and training to meet the demands of our changing newsrooms.”