NCTJ Diploma in Journalism launched at London forum

The NCTJ Diploma in Journalism – the charity’s new multimedia qualification for all journalists - was launched today at a special forum at Bloomberg in London.

The NCTJ Diploma in Journalism – the charity’s new multimedia qualification for all journalists – was launched today at a special forum at Bloomberg in London.
Donald Martin, chairman of the NCTJ Journalism Qualifications Board and editor-in-chief of the Herald and Times, soon to be editor of the Sunday Post, outlined the radical multimedia structure and content of the diploma. The new qualification has been developed by editors, senior journalists and trainers who work in print, broadcast and online, as well as the NCTJ’s senior examiners.
The Diploma in Journalism is made up of seven multimedia assessments – five core subjects to be taken by all students and trainees and two specialist options.
 The five core mandatory subjects are: Reporting; Multimedia Portfolio; Shorthand; Essential Public Affairs; and Essential Media Law.
The specialist options are: Media Law Court Reporting; Video Journalism for Online; Sub-editing; Sports Journalism; Business of Magazines and Broadcast Journalism.
Speaking to an audience of heads of journalism and course leaders from NCTJ-accredited courses, editors and journalism trainers at the Qualifications Forum, Donald said: “We all now operate in a multimedia world. The boundaries between journalism sectors are no longer distinct.
“Employers like me are demanding multi-skilled journalists. And students, who are full of enthusiasm for this new world, want multimedia training and multimedia NCTJ qualifications.
“The NCTJ, in consultation with editors, trainers and trainees, has developed a set of new assessments that test the fundamental core skills of a multimedia journalist, and provide new recruits to the industry with a range of skills that allow them choice and transferability across the media.”
Donald began by highlighting the need for change, which was first identified in the Journalism Skills Survey 2008.
Donald said: “It is essential that digital skills are taught as a core part of each subject. Media law and public affairs should be more closely integrated with developing reporting skills. Portfolios should allow candidates to submit work in all widely accepted publishing and broadcasting forms. These, as well as shorthand, will form the core skills for all journalists in addition to specialist options.”
In his speech Donald Martin outlined key points for all five mandatory subjects:
 Reporting includes multi-platform reporting, news writing for print, online and magazines and an option for TV and radio scriptwriting.
·         Multimedia portfolio candidates can submit their stories in any format and a compulsory public affairs assignment is required to complete the assessment.
·         In Shorthand, 100 wpm is the gold standard and required to sit the NCE. Students listening skills will be tested in exams – at speeds of 90 to 120 wpm students will have to identify and transcribe a quote with 100 per cent accuracy.
 ·         Essential public affairs will see a new syllabus covering both central and local government. There will be no key terms and a public affairs journalism assignment will be required to be included in the portfolio.
·         Essential Media Law will see one general exam which includes an introduction to court reporting and regulation and compliance.
Donald explained some of the specialist options are mandatory for certain areas of journalism. He said: “Although we have called them options, some subjects are mandatory depending on what area of journalism students want to specialise in.”
For example, news reporters must take Media Law Court Reporting as one of their specialist options.
Magazine journalists must take the Sub-editing option – a core skill for this area of the industry.
Donald added that broadcast journalism is a new area for the NCTJ and the charity has been building expertise and contacts with a view to integrating broadcast skills into the core assessments.
Donald added that further specialist options would be developed if there was a market for them.
The Diploma in Journalism will replace the long-established preliminary Certificate in Journalism. The first NCTJ-accredited courses to deliver the Diploma in Journalism will begin in September. There will be a one-year period of transition with all NCTJ-accredited courses delivering the Diploma in Journalism from September 2011.

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