It seems there will be a few heated discussions between journalism Universities and the NCTJ in the coming weeks.
As Roy Greenslade reports over at Media Guardian there is some very healthy debate coming from Brian McNair, former journalism professor of Strathclyde University, and his reasons to pull Strathclyde’s journalism and creative writing course away from NCTJ accreditation.
It seems McNair (who airs his views here) believes the NCTJ is a dated concept, with much more focus on social networking and online media these days. While this maybe true, it doesn’t render the NCTJ redundant. There are still local papers in circulation and their reporters will still need to know shorthand, media law and the other skills the NCTJ teach.
However, there is a general shift in the thinking at papers these days. One reporter, during a stint of work experience at my local paper a couple of weeks ago, told me that he now has to split his week equally to allow him to contribute to the web site as well as the paper. The same company even employs a dedicated online sports reporter, and one of his main roles is to get the website hits through social networking.
So it seems students and education centre’s need to choose a camp. Either they believe newspaper reporting to be dying (or dead) and cut the ties with the NCTJ or they believe the NCTJ gives students a solid start in which they can build a career by starting in the local press.
If only there was a way to combine the two?