A couple months ago I was leafing through the Broadcast Journalism Training Council guidelines. Drawn up a few years ago (well, 2005), they look worryingly similar to those ‘web journalism’ courses that simply consist of teaching journalists to design webpages. In their guidelines [PDF – page 21] they say students should produce:
9.2.1 a portfolio comprising a minimum of SIX distinct webpage templates, one of
which will be the home page;
9.2.2a minimum of FIVE online news stories originated by the student and utilising the
templates described above. The site should demonstrate the full range of editorial,
technical skills, with complexity and styles appropriate to current practice in the
output of different news organisations and their target audiences.
Clearly this is in some need of updating – and I’m told the BJTC are looking to do so. The question is, what should they be updating this to? Over to you.
I think one of the best online tools any journalist from any background can learn is how to take part in a community – how to have a conversation and to realise that what they have written online, or the audio/video content they have provided is just the start of that.
If there is one thing that I think journalists should do is set up a Twitter. They can build their contacts and keep track of key organisations and what stories their peers are working on.
Through tools such as Twitter scan, journalists can find eye witnesses for breaking news stories. This was recently successful for the recent Chinese earthquakes for example.
We have set up a social network in Bristol that is designed to aid journalists, PR, news agencies all network and keep in touch with each other in an increasingly hectic world.
I have found that certainly on a regional level that many media outlets can no longer spare reporters going out into the community to cover stories, due to widespread redundancies. To summarise I think social networking (Facebook / Twitter) is a great skill for journalists to learn.
Our online journalism MA was one of the first accredited by the BJTC and it’s fair to say that perhaps their guidlines bare little reflection to their attitude which is pretty progressive.
They also pushed us heavily to include voice training in the online courses very early on – convergence aware as they where.
Still, everyone needs to update and develop.
So If I was to get them to consider anything it would be to push AV a little more in the online side of things. I’d also echo the community angle.
I would ask them to avoid specifics about CMS’ other than experience of theml unless they can broker some good deals on a few industry ones – the old joomla over wordpress debate could get as tired as the dreamweaver debate. I would love them to take a more platform agnostic approach.
But, to be honest, I think they push harder to make those broadcast courses they accredit take convergence more seriously rather than keep it as an adjunct.
The close ties they have with the BBC mean they have a workable model to mooch around.
It would be interesting to see what they could come up with in comparison to the NCTJ