Association for Journalism Education

Promoting excellence in education, teaching and research


NCTJ report lists key skills for student journalists

J-schools should be teaching ‘new and enhanced skills’ in areas including ethics, fact checking, digital skills, PR, freelancing, entrepreneurialism, time management and audience relationships according to a new report from the NCTJ.

The accrediting body that is probably best known for its dogged commitment to 100-WPM shorthand (sorry, this writer only managed 80), states:

Change happens to all jobs over time. For some occupations, the change is such that the job all but disappears from the economy, to be replaced by jobs that emerge. For other jobs, such as journalism we presume, it is the nature of the job that changes.

It expresses concern about ‘shrinkage’ that has meant that local newspapers are perhaps no longer the main route for students to get jobs in professional journalism. It also turns rather NUJ when it states:

There is a changing age balance of journalists, with older, more experienced, journalists being replaced by younger workers. This is driven both by costs (younger journalists being, on average, cheaper) but also by the different skillsets, with younger journalists being seen as having greater levels of IT and digital skills

This ‘hollowing out’ of the workforce meant that experienced newsroom staff were not able to mentor new recruits, which we all know is usually a recipe for disaster on any newspaper.

It also raises concern about the quality of on-the-job training delivered in some media companies and describes ‘potential biases restricting training to some (and not all).’ Freelance and temporary staff were often excluded from on-the-job training in new skills.

Other conclusions were perhaps more predictable:

Journalists increasingly need to develop different relationships with their audiences, being increasingly engaged in a two-way discussion. Photographic and video skills are increasingly needed by all journalists as part of their multi-skilling


The detailed report also includes a discussion of the impact of changes brought about by Leveson, the business environment, IT and digitisation.

NCTJ Report [PDF]

Some reaction here on Hold The Front Page

[Hat tip: Alan Geere for forwarding the story]

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