Facebook funds community journalists to gain NCTJ diplomas at UK universities

Facebook funds community journalists to gain NCTJ diplomas at UK universities

Bournemouth University will offer 20 Community News Project reporters boot camp training sessions in shorthand, media law and data journalism

Reporters on the Facebook Community News Project will complete their journalism training at UK universities this year, receiving a formal journalism qualification: an NCTJ Diploma (National Council for the Training of Journalists).

Facebook has hired and trained reporters to work in local newsrooms over the past year, in partnership with the NCTJ. Since the pilot scheme launched, the reporters have been working in newsrooms, and some, towards their formal diploma.

Publishers announced last week they would be sending community reporters to universities up and down the country to finish off the remaining requirements, where they will receive training from university lecturers and expert speakers.

One of those is Bournemouth University, who will be taking on 20 of the 83 reporters across the south of England over the next 18 months. The reporters will attend boot camps to work towards outstanding parts of their diplomas, so students will not find reporters sitting in their lecture halls.

“Some have vast experience already, it’s a diverse group of people from different ages and different communities,” said Miriam Phillips, journalism lecturer and NCTJ co-ordinator, Bournemouth University.

Reporters can achieve an NCTJ Gold Standard Diploma by passing a combination of mandatory and elective modules at a C grade or above, plus 100 words-per-minute shorthand, which is seen as the benchmark for many UK employers. An NCTJ National Diploma is awarded for grades at E and above for all modules.

The university offers training in all of the mandatory modules: essential journalism, journalism ethics and regulation, media law and regulation, plus a journalism e-portfolio.

It will also provide training in the remaining elective modules, including two of the new additions for the university: data journalism and journalism for a digital audience. Upon completion, reporters can also go on to train for an NQJ (National Qualification in Journalism), which is a senior qualification.

This will be taught by university lecturers and practitioners, but guest expert speakers, such as Samantha Shepherd, digital content, social and audience manager, Newsquest, will also deliver talks.

“I’m really excited to be working with lots of different newsrooms,” said Phillips.

“It’s important that online publishers and social platforms recognise the importance of community news reporting – it’s the heart of journalism.”

Facebook funds the project through the NCTJ, who works with publishers to pay the salaries of reporters. Universities are paid for training via publishers and not directly by Facebook.

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