A new training course for journalists and communications professionals covering migration has been launched today by the NCTJ.
Experts from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford have compiled the free online training tool for journalists covering migration and migrant issues, which will feature on the NCTJ’s Journalism Skills Academy.
Reporting on Migration is designed to help reporters and other communications professionals to understand the technical, legal and policy issues at the heart of the migration debate.
It aims to support journalists in ensuring their work is accurate and based on a clear understanding of the complex challenges relating to migration.
Laura Adams, head of the NCTJ’s Journalism Skills Academy, said: “Migration is one of the most polarising issues in media around the world. It generates powerful emotions and enormous numbers of stories.
“But while there is lots of great migration reporting out there, few journalists have had any training in migration issues, which leaves people open to errors and misunderstandings. This short, free course sets out the basics that any reporter covering migration issues in the UK should know.
“Thank you to Rob McNeil from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford for using his expertise to compile this training course for all journalists.”
The course covers:
- the origins of migration reporting and the history of immigration to the UK since 1900
- explanations of how to analyse migration policy and statistics
- why sports reporters and sub-editors have just as much need to understand migration issues as politics and home affairs reporters.
Short video interviews from experts and leading journalists, who give their thoughts on what good migration reporting looks like, also feature in the programme.
Interviewees include the Guardian’s Amelia Gentleman and Matt Dathan, from The Times, as well as BBC producers, photojournalists, charity representatives and researchers from the University of Oxford.
Participants who finish the course receive a certificate of completion and a downloadable glossary for reference in future reporting.
Rob McNeil, deputy director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, compiled the course for the NCTJ and said: “Migration is rarely out of the news, and nearly every journalist will cover the issue in some way or another in their career.
“Political reporters dealing with a new bill; sports reporters dealing with international transfers of football superstars between clubs; local news journalists dealing with the diverse communities in their area, or picture editors deciding which images to use to illustrate a story about labour shortages – they’re all migration stories. But migration stories often step into complex and nuanced issues where reporting can have big impact on people’s lives, community cohesion and the decisions made by politicians.
“This course is designed to be an introduction to the issue of migration that’s both engaging and informative, and is squarely aimed at the needs of working journalists.
“It provides reporters with clarity on key technical and policy issues, explains the sometimes confusing or misused terminology, and helps people to grasp what we can and can’t know about migration and how it affects society.”
Rob, who is a former journalist for the Evening Standard, Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror, has written about migration in the media for the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and researched international reporting practices on migration. He has written a handbook on migration reporting and runs numerous training programmes for the International Centre on Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).
Dr Donna Smith, from The Open University, also worked with Rob to ensure the course met the best practices for distance learning.