Piers Morgan welcomes launch of NCTJ virtual summer school

The NCTJ has today launched an online summer school, designed to provide an introduction to journalism for beginners.

Over the next two months, the free summer school will release a video masterclass each week via the NCTJ’s YouTube channel, on topics such as newsgathering, interviewing skills, media law, sports journalism and broadcasting. Contributors include NCTJ patron and Sky News correspondent Alex Crawford, and the BBC’s Rianna Croxford.

NCTJ alumnus Piers Morgan has given his backing for the project in a video released today.

The Good Morning Britain presenter said: “To anyone thinking that journalism might be for them, I would say ‘go for it’. The summer school which the NCTJ has created is a great way to find out more.

“I started out in the business by training for my NCTJ qualification at Harlow College in Essex, which I’m glad to say is still going strong.

“The skills I learnt there, about how to spot and construct a story, how to interview people, how to navigate the strange worlds of national and local politics, the law – and even how to take shorthand notes at 100 words per minute – have stayed with me throughout my career, and always been unbelievably useful.”

He added: “Just how good journalism is by trained journalists I think has been laid bare in this pandemic, it’s never seemed to me more important.

“And if you think this industry isn’t for you, well think twice. Any person from any background can do journalism with the right attitude and the right skills.”

The first summer school instalment, an introduction to journalism from Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford, has also been released today. In her session, she highlights how vital journalism is in holding authority to account.

She said: "We are basically the moral compass of everything and everybody, we're the conscience of the world."

Over the summer, aspiring journalists can expect to see videos from established figures including Rianna Croxford, community affairs correspondent at BBC News, Dharmesh Sheth, Sky Sports News presenter and Joe O’Leary, head of special projects at Full Fact; as well as NCTJ staff Emma Robinson and Will Gore, and Mark Hanna of The University of Sheffield.

Each video will provide viewers with an insight into a different area of the industry, or a different journalistic discipline. The initiative will offer a grounding in basic skills, paving the way for participants to consider studying for a journalism qualification via distance learning or an NCTJ-accredited course.

Click here to watch the first instalment and subscribe to the NCTJ’s channel.

Sarah Kenny, marketing and communications manager at the NCTJ, said: “We are very pleased to have produced this summer school series. We hope the tips and insights shared by our expert presenters will inspire people – especially those coming to the end of their time at school – to consider training for a career in journalism.

“By lifting the lid on the practical skills that journalists use day to day, we hope our masterclasses will help to demystify an industry that can occasionally feel remote to people looking in from the outside.”