Friday, 9 December 2011

Well done Newcastle ... officially the best

I raised a glass with colleagues at Press Association Training this week after the Newcastle journalism foundation course was named the best in Britain. The training centre, based in the Journal and Chronicle offices, was awarded the top spot ahead at the NCTJ's annual Skills Conference at Belfast City Hall. Trainee journalists on the PA course achieved an impressive and unprecedented 92pc exam pass rate. It's the third time in four years the course has clinched a top place, but the first time it has achieved the overall number one spot. None of this comes as any great surprise to me. The course has always been first rate, mainly because it sticks to the following tried and tested principles:
i) The centre is run as a newsroom with the same disciplines, dress code and long hours.
ii) All of the journalism training is carried out by professional, working journalists.
iii) The course concentrates on the basics - shorthand, writing, bringing in stories and law.
iv) The trainees are given detailed feedback on all of their work. 
v) As the centre is in a newspaper office the trainees get experience working for big city dailies.
Former trainees include the Andrew Marr, James Naughtie, Financial Times editor Lionel Barber and The Sun's political editor Tom Newton Dunn.
Ultimately, of course, training is only as good as the people who deliver it. So well done to Paul Jones, Pat Hagan, Garry Willey, David Banks, Sue Nixon, Shirley Kelly and, of course, head of PA Training Tony Johnston. Richly deserved. If you are want to know more, the course's details are here.

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