In our Throwback Thursday series, we take a look at what the key figures in media were thinking in the past, based on the archive, and how those issues can be related to the current challenges and opportunities that dominate the conversation about the digital media landscape.

Read the rest of the series here, including a special on quotes from the first two newsrewired digital journalism events organised by in 2010.

Today we go back to September 2008, when we discussed whether new skills were required on journalism training courses, and if a "mixed access model" for financing news websites was the way forward.

NCTJ to investigate state of journalism training

Back in September 2008, the NCTJ was starting a survey to ask industry professionals and employees of journalism training institutions whether the skills of students leaving journalism courses matched those required in the industry.

"The purpose of the survey is to find out about issues arising from the increasing need for journalists to work across more than one platform as a result of convergence; in particular whether they are being adequately prepared for this multi-platform environment during their education, training and development," said Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, in a press statement.

The research was supported by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council, the Periodicals Training Council and the Society of Editors.

Keeping journalism training courses up to date with the latest tools and techniques available to journalists today can be a difficult task, although steps are taken to incorporate the latest industry practices.

For example, the Broadcast Journalism Training Council now requires that mobile reporting techniques are taught on the accredited courses, a measure which was introduced at least two years ago.

Across the pond, certain universities are taking a more experimental approach to teaching emerging journalism practices, including modules on virtual reality among other workshops designed to teach students to become more comfortable learning on their own where new technologies are concerned.

Nick Davies on journalism education

Investigative journalist Nick Davies spoke at the Association for Journalism Education conference in 2008, explaining the trouble in which he believed journalism education found itself.

Writing for, Alex Lockwood, journalism lecturer at the University of Sunderland, recounted:

"Davies argued that even 'good' schools are destroying journalism by teaching three misplaced rules: read the papers, be objective, and report in a balanced way.

"Reading the papers only means students ingest the bad habits of 'churnalism'" he said.

"Furthermore, according to Davies, objectivity is a myth and all journalism suffers from narrow selection of stories, as well as manipulation by PR; while providing balance means never saying anything.

"These should be put aside and a new focus on 'honesty', as well as the skills to check, double check, and check again, should be introduced."

Should publishers charge for online content?

"There’s this push to say that everything should be free and many major publishers have caved to that, but the reality is that if everything is free a lot of it is going to be rubbish," said Rob Grimshaw, then managing director of, at an industry conference nine years ago.

This "mixed access model" where a website had different subscription levels, with stories available to users depending on their chosen model of paying for news, was being questioned at the time.

Nowadays, while news titles still tend to offer stories for free online, many are experimenting with various ways to get users to pay (memberships, events, etc) instead of relying solely on advertising, which has proven to be an insufficient source of income for digital news outlets.

Grimshaw is now chief executive at TES Global.

See you next week for more Throwback Thursday! Do you remember any predictions that never came to pass, or any quotes that were spot on from 'back in the day'? Tweet us at @journalismnews.

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