An online summer school series by the NCTJ has seen hundreds of thousands of views from clips posted on social media in its bid to reach out to aspiring journalists.
Piers Morgan is among the speakers in the weekly video masterclasses released to introduce viewers to topics ranging from newsgathering and interviewing skills to sports journalism and media law.
The videos are part of a vision by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) to expand the tools available for journalists to hone their skills online; a development which comes even more urgently following the coronavirus lockdown.
The Evening Standard’s Tristan Kirk gave the latest summer school session on court reporting today (August 17), and there is an introduction to broadcast journalism by the BBC’s Community Affairs Correspondent Rianna Croxford expected for next week’s finale.
Joanne Butcher, Chief Executive of the NCTJ, told the SoE about the scheme’s success:
“We are delighted our summer school videos have been so well received with more than 20k impressions on the NCTJ’s YouTube channel, and 2,200 unique viewers have spent almost 200 hours watching the journalism masterclasses. The clips we shared on social media had hundreds of thousands of views.
“Piers Morgan’s endorsement at the start helped to boost our audience figures, of course, as did our brilliant patron Alex Crawford’s video on the vital importance of journalism in holding authority to account.”
The free videos come at critical time for the UK media industry seeking to recruit up-and-coming journalists who are reflective of the diversity of audiences today.
In Sky News foreign correspondent Alex Crawford’s address, she explains her hope that young people can be inspired and equipped with the skills to “go out and learn, and be the future of journalism”.
Yet, these videos are just a precursor to the training body’s huge vision to upskill journalists at all stages of their careers within the industry.
The practical, skills-based learning content seen in the summer school videos will be a feature of the NCTJ’s new Journalism Skills Academy (JSA) to be launched later this year, Butcher tells us.
“At the heart of the new academy is an online platform that provides a one-stop shop for journalists at all stages of their careers to develop their skills and advance their knowledge of the industry.
“Although planned long before lockdown, remote working and learning has made the vision we have for the JSA to revitalise a culture of ongoing professional development across the journalism industry even more urgent,” Butcher said.
Currently the NCTJ runs regular training for journalists both independently and as part of degree courses at select universities. But the launch of the JSA later this year will aim to increase the range of learning resources available to journalists throughout their careers – including access to specialist online courses, such as media law and podcasting, targeted at those at a mid-career level.
The Academy will also offer an interactive version of the National Qualification in Journalism which has never previously been delivered by distance learning.
The scheduled launch of the Academy goes hand-in-hand with the NCTJ’s commitment to supporting more BAME professionals and under-represented groups in career development.
“By extending our commitment to mid-career skills we hope to see greater diversity in our newsroom editors and managers,” Butcher said.
“Among other plans, we will soon expand the JDF’s [Journalism Diversity Fund’s] mentoring element beyond the period during which recipients are studying, so that they have an experienced mentor to turn to once they enter and to help them progress in the world of work.”