NCTJ announces upcoming launch of new Journalism Skills Academy

The National Council for the Training of Journalists today announces plans to launch a Journalism Skills Academy (JSA), as part of a new initiative to scale up its training offer for in-work journalists.

Centred on a new e-learning platform, the JSA will be the hub for all of the NCTJ’s direct training activities for journalists at all stages of their careers (as well as those interested in becoming a journalist).

The NCTJ will work collaboratively with partners in the news media sector and academia to create relevant learning packages for journalists working across all platforms.

Existing distance learning options for the industry-backed Diploma in Journalism and the introductory Certificate in Foundation Journalism, will be transferred to the new virtual academy, making them more accessible and improving the experience of learners.

Crucially, the National Qualification in Journalism, which for many professionals marks the transition from junior to senior journalist, will also become available to study online.

The NCTJ aims to significantly increase the number of professionals testing themselves against the higher standard, which has pathways available for journalists across all media sectors.

The Journalism Skills Academy will be a new home for free refresher courses and resources as well as paid-for programmes designed to develop particular journalistic skills.

In-person training courses will – once they recommence – also be run under the JSA banner.

Joanne Butcher, the NCTJ’s chief executive, said: “Quality journalism training and high standards are what the NCTJ is all about.

“Whilst we are best-known for our entry-level training and qualifications, we recognise the vital importance of on-going development to maintain high standards and equip journalists with new skills at a time of unprecedented change.

“We are also conscious of the debates around trust and standards.

“The new academy will help news media businesses and individual journalists demonstrate that they are committed to professional practise and learning new skills.”

Will Gore, the NCTJ’s head of partnerships and projects, is leading the work of the academy and is encouraging the active involvement and support of all the relevant industry and funding partners.

The Journalism Skills Academy will go live this autumn and the NCTJ intends to scale up the project significantly over the following year.

Supporting the initiative, Gavin Allen, head of news output at the BBC, said: “This is a cracking idea from a brilliant organisation which recognises that if you don’t skill up you may as well give up. Journalists aren’t just reporting on an ever-changing world but, like everyone else, having constantly to adapt to it.

“New platforms, new audience opportunities, expectations and demands, new formats, new technological innovations: here’s the chance to engage, learn and improve. And that’s surely what good journalists should always seek to do.”

Jo Webster, deputy global editor for visuals at Reuters, said: “Continual professional development is critical for journalists, particularly when our industry is facing constant disruption and evolving so quickly.

“The coronavirus crisis has forced everyone to overhaul their working practises. In the ‘new normal’, journalists at all levels of their careers will need access to e-learning to help them progress and remain relevant.”

Alan Edmunds, managing director of Reach regionals, added: “In challenging times for the industry, ensuring that our journalism is of the highest quality remains a paramount objective. The NCTJ’s Journalism Skills Academy will play an important part in keeping journalists up to date with ever changing technology, media law and regulation, and the other fundamentals of our trade.”

To find out more about the NCTJ's Journalism Skills Academy, click here.