Journalism industry research

The NCTJ is committed to an on-going programme of research to provide the industry with up-to-date labour market information about journalism. This will be used to inform our current and future strategy and to help us develop our projects and services so that they benefit everyone the charity helps.

Diversity in Journalism 2021

This research report updates the analysis of journalists’ diversity characteristics from 2018 to 2020.

It is based on 2020 Labour Force Survey (LFS) data.

It can be read in conjunction with the NCTJ’s Diversity in Journalism report, published in November 2017, and Journalists at Work, published in October 2018.

Click here to read the full report.

Destinations of NCTJ Diploma in Journalism Students 2019

As individuals have invested their time and money in gaining an NCTJ diploma qualification, it is appropriate that they know what impact their investment will have.

They should know whether the diploma is likely to lead to employment, whether it will increase their chances of getting the type of job they want and what level of salary they may earn.

To answer these information needs, the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) has commissioned this report which examines the ‘destinations’ of people who have studied for the NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism.

This follows the first report, which was published in 2015.

Click here to read the full report.

Journalists at Work 2018

The National Council for the Training of Journalists has commissioned this research to provide new and consistent information across a range of industry sectors on the journalism professions.

It is both an update of the organisation’s 2012 Journalists at Work publication (which itself was an update of the initial 2002 Journalists at Work research), and an exploration of issues that have emerged over the last six years.

The main data in this report is based on information produced by an online self-completion survey, which has been made widely available to journalists across the UK. This has been supplemented where possible with existing data, mainly from the Office for National Statistics’ household survey, the Labour Force Survey. 

Click here to read the full report.

Diversity in journalism

Why are there so few disabled journalists? What stops students from some ethnic groups having a career in the media, even when they have trained for one? Why are journalism students who had a privately-funded education more likely to be working as a journalist than those who went to a state school?

These are among the issues identified in this report. Drawn up by research consultant Mark Spilsbury, it examines in depth the reasons for the lack of diversity in the British media, and what can be done about it.

Click here to read the full report.

Exploring Freelance Journalism

A significant trend across the UK economy has been the rise in self-employment and journalism has not been isolated from this phenomenon. This research was commissioned by the NCTJ to explore the reasons for the rise in freelance journalism and to help us understand more about the nature of freelance journalists, self-employment, skills and learning. The NCTJ’s research consultant, Mark Spilsbury, designed the research methodology and authored the report.

The research provides independent, comprehensive labour market information about the freelance journalism sector and includes the results of a recent survey of more than 600 freelance journalists.

The report can be viewed here.

Destinations of NCTJ Diploma in Journalism students

This independent research was commissioned by the NCTJ and designed to provide comparable results to the graduate destinations survey conducted by the Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA). Mark Spilsbury designed the research and authored the report, with BMG Research undertaking the fieldwork.

The research is based on a survey of 205 individuals who studied for the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism on an accredited course and were contacted within 6-10 months of completing their studies.

The report can be viewed here.

Emerging skills for journalists

The world in which journalists work is fast-changing. Our issues paper sets out some of those changes, which we need to understand so that we can begin to identify what is happening, and what will happen, to journalism skills.

To this end we discuss: developments in the business models of publishing and broadcasting; the impact of Leveson; employers’ use of journalists and journalists’ skills; changing journalistic skills: the impact of IT and digitisation on journalistic skills; changing sectoral employment of journalists; and continuing skills and professional development.

As we identify these issues, and the implications of them for the employment and use of journalistic skills, we also need to have an eye to the future – whether the change identified will continue to develop and therefore continue to have an impact.

Read the Emerging Skills for Journalists research report.

Journalists at Work

In 2002 the independent survey, Journalists at Work, was published. The results provided a snapshot of the state of the journalism industry, and allowed the NCTJ to better design courses that prepare students for entry into journalism. Ten years on, this research is still highly regarded – being, for example, a key reference document in the May 2012 Milburn Report on Social Mobility, Fair Access to Professional Careers. And with the release of the 2012 Journalists at Work survey in March 2013, funded by the NCTJ, it is apparent that much has changed in the last 10 years.

A key part of the research is the results from a survey of 1,067 working journalists.

Read the Journalists at Work 2012 research report.