Author Topic: Too many journalism courses?  (Read 3309 times)

John Thompson

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Too many journalism courses?
« on: November 12, 2012, 03:24:29 PM »
The Society of Editors today announced the results of its training survey (mostly of newspaper editors) concluding, among other things that editors think there are too many journalism courses.

"The vast majority [of editors] think it is important that training courses are accredited, but  more than half said there are too many accreditation bodies, and a quarter would prefer them to be merged into one body," according to the report. Also "70 per cent thought web and mobile platform skills were absolutely core to mainstream journalism training" while trainees generally wanted "more lecturers who are in touch with modern newsrooms".

Following the presentation of the survey at the Society of Editors conference in Belfast today, Joanne Butcher, chief executive, National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) concluded:

"It is a disgrace to see so many young people completing expensive courses and passing bogus qualifications that just don’t provide them with the vocational skills they need to get jobs or qualifications that editors have any faith in. We owe it to them to expose this scandal." (PDF download of full speech here)

This seems to me to be an extraordinary statement. While I am aware of at least one former training organisation that has been accused of dubious practices, it hardly seems endemic. And, yes, there are many more training opportunities for journalists than existed 20 years ago but can you really conclude that standards have gone down as a consequence?

Journalism trainers and students, let me know what you think.


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Re: Too many journalism courses?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 09:49:35 PM »
When I took an NCTJ course, a lot of my fellow students had actually completed degrees in journalism and gone to potential employers brandishing their diploma, only to discover that they had to have NCTJ qualifications. I doubt they would have studied that particular degree in that particular university had they realised that it wasn't enough for a job in journalism.

Sean Matthews

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Re: Too many journalism courses?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 04:55:43 PM »
I generally agree that employers in print journalism especially are looking for NCTJ qualifications and little else.  University undergrad courses are a lot of fun but they won't, on the whole, get you on to a paper or into an agency without the extra expense of an NCTJ-focused course.  They may be a route into magazines or broadcasting.  But non-NCTJ-accredited course often encourage students to take NCTJ exams at their own expense - it seems crazy you can spend nine grand a year on an undergrad course and they're asking you to cough up for external NCTJ exams.  As for the other crappy little accreditation organisations, utterly pointless - NO employer cares one jot about them.