University’s pioneering new diploma for Facebook community reporters

Behind Local News
· 4 min read

A pioneering new training scheme has been launched at Bournemouth University to help prepare the journalists of the future.

Reporters taking part in the first Bournemouth University boot-camp as part of the Community News Project

The UK Journalists are working as part of the Facebook Community Reporter Scheme and are now working towards their NCTJ Diplomas.

Last week, the 18 students began their studies by taking part in the first of three bootcamps, which will be supported by distance learning in their newsrooms.

The 18-month training scheme is part of a new Community News Project between Facebook, The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and regional publishers. The training follows the launch of the project earlier this year which enabled the hiring of 83 trainee reporters to focus on community patch coverage.

Toby Granville, Editorial Director of Newsquest and board member of the NCTJ said: “I am delighted that Bournemouth University managed to establish the diploma for our Facebook funded Community Reporters at such short notice.

“The university has world class facilities and the standard of training is outstanding. I’m hoping it becomes a centre of excellence, providing its gold standard training to many others in the industry.”

Newsquest and four other media companies — JPI Media Ltd, Archant, Bayliss Media and the Newbury News — are working with BU on the ground-breaking project.

The NCTJ’s head of Partnerships Will Gore visited the students midweek during a digital day at BU and discussed the Community Reporter Project as well as digital trends from his recent role as Executive Editor of The Independent.

He said: “It was great to visit some of the Community News Project reporters as they began their training towards the NCTJ Diploma at Bournemouth University last week.

“Training was scoped as a core element of the project from the start, and to see reporters now working towards their Diploma in such an engaged way is fantastic.

“By studying for a formal qualification alongside their day-to-day community reporting duties, the CNP recruits are setting themselves up very well indeed for their future careers in journalism.”

During the week-long boot-camp the students were taught by a range of lecturers in Bournemouth University’s journalism department. They studied essential journalism skills with a strong emphasis on engaging the community and finding under represented voices in their chosen patch. The benefits of hyperlocal news was a key focus alongside Media Law, Video and Mobile Journalism public affairs and shorthand.

Miriam Phillips, Journalism Lecturer and NCTJ Lead at Bournemouth University, said: “We were delighted to welcome professional journalists from all over the UK to come to the initial training for their diploma.

“It was also timely that during a lesson for Public Affairs about the importance of the constitution, the news breaking in the background was the ground-breaking finding of the Supreme Court regarding our prime minster suspending parliament.”

She added: “We are thrilled to work alongside the NCTJ to help deliver the pioneering Facebook Community News Project as community reporting is not only at the heart of good journalism, whether locally or on a national title; it is also at the heart of our democracy and has never been so vitally important.”

Steven Collins, a Community reporter attending the scheme from the Worcester News said: “I found the bespoke course wonderful and it was nice to meet new people in the same role to share tales. The campus facilities were great and it left me with a spring in my step in regards to how close I am to finishing the NCTJ certificate and moving onto the NQJ.”

Community Reporter Scott Clarke of the Denbighshire Free Press in Wales said: ““The course was really well organised with teaching from leading experienced NCTJ trained journalists, who were friendly and offered advice at every stage.”

Stan Skarzynski, a Community Reporter from the Oxford Mail, said: “Our session at Bournemouth University was perfect, every single bit of it. From the skills-list it is shorthand that was the greatest discovery, as it turned out not difficult.

“It will be incredibly useful tool once mastered, so I really want to have it as soon as possible. On the knowledge side, I look forward to more law and ethics most, as the law session proved that we tend to act safely and do not utilise all the tools we have at our disposal. Put simply, there was not a single lesson that did not brought a revelation to me and I cannot wait to see my colleagues and teachers again.”

Bournemouth University also offers the NCTJ Diploma to all students studying on the BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism degree.

Behind Local News UK

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Behind Local News UK

The stories behind the stories, from the regional press in the UK

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