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Panpa Bulletin : April 2006
NeWS Warren Page looks at a new program that will see new Zealand journalists get on-the-job training. Pilot sessions of a new work- place training scheme for journalists are being pre- pared in New Zealand. Trials are to commence mid-year with a view to launching the full pro- gram in mid-2007. The program is designed to im- prove the competence of journal- ists who have entered the work- place after completing full-time tertiary studies for the National Diploma of Journalism or degree- level university qualifications. This will be done by a two- stage combination of system- atic practical in-office experience and published work, assessments of that work by news executives, in-office mentoring, Journal- ists Training Organisation short courses, and external assess- ments. The journalists taking part will build a portfolio of their original news/feature copy and the even- tual clippings, along with super- visors' written assessments and feedback. An assessment, says developer of the program, JTO executive director Jim Tucker, will be based on trainees' ability to work as journalists over what could be 18 months. Six of the larger newspaper, news agency, radio and television organisations have approved the JTO initiated workplace training and assessment proposal in prin- ciple and await results of the tri- als. Ultimately magazines, small independent dailies and commu- nity newspapers will be invited to join the program and its benefits, which include a major share of government funding. Subject to the program meet- ing New Zealand Qualification Authority and the Tertiary Educa- tion Commission requirements, government funding of NZ$3,200 for each fulltime equivalent trainee per year will be available. Employers in the program will re- ceive most of that payment and the JTO the balance. The JTO will manage the program and its funding, issue learning resources, train exter- nal assessors who will check the trainees' competence, and mod- erate the assessors to ensure a fair and even standard throughout the country. Tucker said that the proposed first level of workplace training will include compulsory core subjects like news media writing; news media reporting; crime, jus- tice and ethics; and general and cultural knowledge. Elective top- ics are being prepared to suit the needs of different kinds of media. The general and cultural knowledge module puts empha- sis on people knowing how New Zealand society works. This in- cludes knowledge about current affairs, bi-cultural and multi-cul- tural society, minority groups, central and local government, New Zealand history and geogra- phy. Editors had told Tucker that there was a need for young jour- nalists to have such knowledge. The next level of workplace training will be designed for spe- cialist roles, like reporting poli- tics, business, and sports. Photo- journalism and editing are other likely topics. Training at this level will also be specific to particular news modes and even to particu- lar workplaces. When trainees and their in-of- fice supervisors are satisfied that their portfolio for a particular module shows that they meet the required standard, they can ask for an independent assessment. Trainee success at end of the pro- gram should result in the grant of a National Advanced Diploma in Journalism. Tucker is confident that the program's advantages include more than industry involvement in setting standards, access to government funding and an over- all lift in journalism standards. He also points to the program providing trainees and employ- ers with a formal transparent sys- tem and qualification that can be used to reward staff and to help retain staff. Retention could be encour- aged, said Tucker, by employers paying for staff to complete the new workplace qualification in return for employees agreeing to stay for at least a set period. new training books the new Zealand Journalists training organisation is reviewing, commissioning and contemplating numerous journalism training and reference text books. Some of this activity is linked to providing resources for the proposed workplace training scheme. those books already commissioned by the J to or near to printing include, Burrows’ Guide to the law (5th edition), Court reporting, Complaints analysis & Guide, and Kawe Korero. textbooks that have been proposed or are being negotiated include the J to’s top-selling standard training textbook, others in this category include reporting aids/hIV, researching, editing & Design, Photojournalism, health reporting, freelancing, and reporting overseas. New program to see better trained journalists Jto executive director Jim tucker is excited by the new training scheme 8 | PaNPa bUlletiN april 2006