Training the online video journalists of tomorrow…

image courtesy of NCTJ website

 

By Chris Creegan

The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) is about to finish the first year in which it offers an online video journalism module as part of its diploma.

This option, entitled Videojournalism for Online, will allow budding journalists to gain the skills necessary for producing short and focussed video reports specifically for the internet.

Within the new course there are four separate study units – equipment and techniques, videojournalism and news gathering, interviewing and regulation and compliance. Interestingly, the module emphasises that it will train students to “industry standards” – a poignant symbol of how integral online video has become to mainstream news media.

The 60-hour programme of study will teach students how to put packages together specifically for news websites, and it also includes a two hour video-editing examination towards the end of the course.

So far, five centres offer this course, and the first set of exams was completed in January. Lyn Jones, head of qualifications at the NCTJ, says: “The NCTJ introduced this skills-based option for trainee journalists as part of the Diploma in Journalism to compliment the core mandatory skills that all journalists need. Journalists in all sectors of the media are required to report stories online and using video as a platform gives trainees an additional string to their bow when seeking employment.”

Lloyd Bracey is the NCTJ’s chief examiner for video and online journalism and, speaking earlier in the academic year, explained the significance of the new module:  “The videojournalism module is a long-awaited and much needed addition to the core skills suite, aimed at the increasing expectations of news organisations not traditionally associated with audio-video content to generate online content.

“It takes the trainee through basic elements of gathering material for online use – bearing in mind the wide range of ways in which such material is likely to appear – from simple clips to fully packaged reports. It’s been a challenging syllabus to design to strike the balance between necessary skills and advanced skills, but the resulting 60 hours of study will provide trainee journalists with the knowledge they need both to produce useful material and to inform their future career choices.”

Whilst it is still too early to analyse the success of this modules’ first year, the NCTJ’s head of examinations, Joanne Atkinson says that there are hopes to roll the module out to more accredited centres across the country by next September.