Diploma in Journalism raised to level 5 qualification

The NCTJ’s entry-level journalism qualification has been upgraded to level 5 to reflect changes in working practices and the cutting-edge multimedia skills expected as industry standard.

The Diploma in Journalism has evolved over recent years to take into account the increased amount of digital skills and multimedia knowledge required by journalists entering the industry, leading to this change from level 3.

There will be a two-year transition period although, following a review with the NCTJ’s accredited course providers, it is expected that the majority of registrations for the qualification will be at level 5 from this month.

As well as students on accredited courses, all new NCTJ distance learners will also work towards the level 5 qualification.

Traditional reporting skills, including finding a story, interviewing and writing clean and crisp copy, remain as a bedrock of the qualification, but now feature new techniques and tools expected from trainees by editors.

These new techniques include being adept across multiple platforms and social media and how those platforms change the headlines, photos and videos alongside copy. The qualification also includes the tools needed to work as a mobile journalist, to understand data and analytics and an increased focus on ethics and regulation.

Andy Martin, chair and chief examiner of the journalism exam board, said: “Centres delivering NCTJ-accredited courses have been consulted to consider their views on raising the diploma to level 5 and the overwhelming majority agree the standards and rigour of the qualification are equivalent to the higher level.”

Lyn Jones, head of qualifications said: “From 1 September 2020, we expect the majority of new registrations for the Diploma in journalism will be registered on the level 5 qualification. It will still be possible to register candidates for the level 3 qualification which will continue to be operational on The Qualifications Register for a two-year transitional period until September 2022.”

The Diploma in Journalism also includes a more varied range of elective modules than ever before, including journalism for a digital audience, data journalism, video journalism for digital platforms and editing skills, as well as traditional skills of public affairs, shorthand and court reporting.

The two-year transitional period will allow candidates to complete their qualification and ensure there are no adverse effects. Click here to read more on the transition arrangements.

If a centre wishes to register its cohort for the level 3 diploma please contact Rachel Manby, head of quality and assessment at [email protected].

Current distance learners may be able to switch to the level 5 diploma. For more information please contact development manager Henry Swarbrick at [email protected].