Tutors share creative approaches to teaching practical journalism skills remotely in NCTJ webinar

Tutors from NCTJ-accredited courses have come together to share their creative approaches to teaching practical journalism skills remotely and how to keep students engaged while at home.

The NCTJ hosted a webinar for tutors today to discuss their thoughts and ideas on running news days virtually, as well as how to teach editing skills, video journalism and broadcast journalism online.

The webinar is the latest in an ongoing series to help tutors share their experiences as they navigate their way through teaching during the pandemic.

Previously, the NCTJ has hosted webinars to share best practice among shorthand tutors, to give guidance on the running of remote exams and to discuss the NCTJ’s contingency arrangements.

Sam Cooper, from Sheffield College, spoke about how he runs virtual news days, recommending the list-making application Trello for online news lists, rather than using Google Docs, so everyone can keep track of their stories.

Miriam Phillips, from Bournemouth University, gave her advice on how to retain engagement and mimic the buzz of a newsroom, including coming together to watch lunchtime news bulletins and the ability to call everyone for breaking news.

The team uses different breakout rooms on Zoom for news planning meetings and meet three times a day to discuss progress on stories.

Matt Gull, from the University of Lincoln, recommended the Streamyard platform to pull together separate news shows for broadcast news days.

He added that his challenge was to condense longer support sessions into pre-recorded videos, interspersed with video clips to help explain points, ahead of a news day the following week. His support sessions are followed up with a short quiz to monitor engagement.

He said: “We’re a little more school-like than we were previously, but we have to be.

“We are also going to give them feedback over the phone rather than email, to give them more confidence speaking on the phone.

“It’s making me think a lot more about my teaching, and I think we will come out of this with a set of videos and ‘how tos’ which will benefit future students.

“There’s more work, there are more difficulties, but I think there are also opportunities.”

Chris Chohan, from the University of Lincoln, offered his tips and tricks for editing video software, for example how to edit subtitles to ensure they are consistent across the whole video.

He also recommended Adobe Premiere Rush as a lighter option compared to Adobe Premiere Pro, as it runs well on tablets and laptops and can also be used online.

Emma Robinson, NCTJ accreditation manager, is responsible for convening webinar series to support centres in developing best practice.

She said: “We know that journalism educators and trainers are working really hard to ensure their students and trainees get the best possible learning experiences, and are doing as much as they can to ensure their learners feel less alone.

“I’m keen the NCTJ does the same so that those delivering NCTJ-accredited training are not alone and have the opportunity to work together to share ideas and find solutions to problems.

“These webinars can also reassure tutors that they face similar issues to other centres and allow tutors to learn about other methods in training students to the industry’s standards.” 

The recording of the webinar will be made available on the NCTJ’s tutor resources for those tutors who were unable to join.