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Newsquest launches Classroom in a Newsroom initiative

A new initiative that sees journalism students being taught and trained in the newsroom of a regional daily paper has been successfully launched at the Southern Daily Echo.

Author: News Desk

Posted on: 11 October 2016 06:36

Newsquest launches Classroom in a Newsroom initiative

Ian Murray: "I’ve been very impressed with the first students to join us."

The Southampton-based title has joined with Hampshire’s Highbury College to create a bespoke one-year Journalism Diploma course which saw its first tranche of students start at the paper in September.

The students spend four days a week in the newsroom where bespoke facilities have been created for both teaching and work placement requirements. One day a week is spent at Highbury College in Portsmouth where the course is administered.

The diploma covers the essentials of journalism and includes reporting, public affairs, media law, court reporting, video broadcasting and shorthand. The course is over seen by a senior member of the Daily Echo editorial team, David Brine, who teaches some elements of the course and oversees the students hands-on work experience. Other elements of the course are taught by college staff at the news centre or at the college campus itself.

It is hoped that the course will receive NCTJ approval which has been applied for, says Newsquest.

For students accepted onto the course who are aged between 18 and 23 there can be no cost depending on meeting set criteria. For older students the fee is £2,850 but students are likely to be eligible to apply for an Advanced Learning Loan.

“We are calling this our ‘Classroom in a Newsroom’ initiative,” said Southern Daily Echo Editor in Chief Ian Murray.

“We could have taught all of the elements of the course in-house at our Southampton offices but we felt that it was important that the students spent at least one day a week at Highbury to meet other media students attending courses there and also enjoyed that college student experience. I’ve been very impressed with the first students to join us. It is going to be interesting to see how they interact with the newsroom and what they can bring to us also.”

The students, aged between 18 and 30, all come from the local community and it’s hoped that as well as learning the skills needed to be a local journalist they will be able to provide valuable links into the city region. During their work experience it’s hoped that the students will eventually see their work in print and on-line as part of their portfolio for the course.

“We have created a classroom in part of our library so that the students can be taught separate from the noise of the newsroom, essential when there are shorthand lessons taking place. But when they are undertaking work experience then they all have work stations and equipment in the newsroom itself so they very much part of the team,” said Ian.

“It is essential they are able to interact with our journalists and content editors to feel part of the whole process. And they won’t be spending all of their time indoors, part of their training is to get out and about in the communities we cover. I’m certain they are going to be great ambassadors for us.”

Liam Whitlock, aged 19, one of the students told readers of the paper: “When I heard Highbury College was collaborating with the Daily Echo without hesitation I applied to enrol on the course. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wants to work in the industry and I am proud to be in the first group the Daily Echo has taken.”

Paul Foster, journalism course leader at Highbury College, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wants to break into the media industry. The skills you will learn on this course – and the qualification you will achieve - can open doors to whatever job you want to get into. Many of our previous students at Highbury have moved into magazines, radio, social media as well as traditional print media. The journalism diploma really is a stepping stone to getting a job.”

Highbury College in Portsmouth has more than 50 years’ experience in training journalists with a great number of success stories including ITV newsreader Mark Austin and the BBC’s Deputy Political Editor John Pienaar.

The course is still taking student applications for this year until the end of October. Anyone wishing to apply should visit

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