The announcement that the Broadcast Journalism Training Council and the National Council for the Training of Journalists have committed themselves to working closely together is welcome.
As they say, in their joint statement this afternoon, “New technology and booming new media platforms are transforming newsrooms and increasing the demand for multi-skilled, multi-media journalists.”
Tom Beesley, BJTC Chairman, said:
Given the recent transformation in how news is delivered, it makes sense for the BJTC and the NCTJ to explore potentially common ground in approaches to journalism training. Future journalists are likely to need both print and broadcasting skills and knowledge â€“ and we welcome the opportunity to break new ground in preparing for that future.
And Kim Fletcher, NCTJ Chairman, said:
Newsrooms are in the midst of a digital revolution and the traditional distinctions between media are blurring. Plans for our two organisations to join forces on a number of initiatives is a great step forward and can only be good for the future of joined-up journalism thinking and working.
This joint working will include the organisation of a journalism skills summit in London in 2007, development of a new video journalism qualification, development of joint accreditation criteria for multi-media journalism courses and, broadening of the print journalism media law syllabus to include on-line and broadcast journalism requirements.
Given the rate of change and the increasing speed with which training decisions have to be made I hope that the skills summit is very early in the new year. Another crucial question will be how they deal with the threat of the university journalism departments at Cardiff and Preston giving up their NCTJ accreditations. Peter Preston explained in yesterday’s Observer:
It’s basically a question of exemptions, from the public admin and legal bits of the courses. Why should long-suffering students be required to sit exams twice over, with a pile of shorthand thrown in? And why should the finest academic essayists have to play tick boxes and short, sharp answers to start on a local weekly at Â£13,000 a year? If Cardiff, say, were to go it alone, would any of their students really suffer?
He adds that students from City University in London which pulled out of the NCTJ several years ago have not suffered.
Neither are there NCTJ accredited courses at the University of Westminster where I teach, but we do have BTC and Periodical Training Council accredited courses. Where does all this leave the PTC?
The devil is going to be in the detail