The industry has changed beyond recognition in recent years, with the advent of the internet and the influence of social media.
But the principles of good journalism remain. And without newspapers and websites like the Shropshire Star, important issues would go unreported and crucial decisions go unreviewed.
A new generation of journalists is being educated at colleges across the country. One of the most successful is on our doorstep, at the City of Wolverhampton College.
Recruitment is well advanced for his latest training at a time when journalists are in high demand, teachers say.
Applications have been opened for the course at the City of Wolverhampton College, the only National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) accredited course in the West Midlands and also serving Shropshire and Staffordshire.
It was 10 times the most successful course of its kind in the UK. Many Shropshire Star journalists have been trained there and course leaders say the industry is crying out for qualified people.
Speaker Dani Wozencroft, herself a former journalist for the Shropshire Star, said: “Quality journalism is now more important than ever, at a time when misinformation or misinformation spreads so easily and the industry is in full swing. boom.
“I’ve never had so many editors call and message me asking for candidates for their vacancies like I do now. The industry has seen so many changes in the nine years I’ve been here and now is a great time to retrain or enroll, if you’re considering writing as a career.
The NCTJ Level Five Diploma in Journalism is the industry-recognized qualification for anyone looking to get into journalism. The one-year course at City of Wolverhampton College teaches students media law, court reporting, ethics, video journalism, public affairs and shorthand – as well as essential journalistic skills like SEO, how to use social media, finding stories, interviewing, writing stories and follow up leads.
They also have guest speakers and workshops on journalistic roles in radio, magazine, data and online, television, sports, and other roles in public relations and communications.
Applicants must have GCSE English and Maths at grade C/4 or above, have two A Levels or an equivalent Level 3 qualification and pass an NCTJ-organized entrance test, organized with Dani, who was still self-employed in industry.
“The best thing about our course is not only that it’s faster and cheaper than a journalism degree, but also that it’s the perfect way into the industry for people of all walks of life,” added Dani. “A recent NCTJ report found that 89% of journalists have a degree or higher qualification, which does not reflect the UK population as a whole.
“Newsrooms need to reflect the communities being reported on so that a range of stories can be told, so it needs to start in the classroom.
“We do everything we can to increase diversity in the newsroom and are big supporters of the Journalism Diversity Fund, suggesting that anyone who applies should turn to the charity, who can pay the costs of course for you.”
The current cohort of students on the course at City of Wolverhampton College does not finish until July, but 50 per cent have already been offered jobs in industry.
Former students include James Forrest, who now freelances for outdoor magazines and has written his own book. He said the course changed his life and he was living his dream.
Jermaine Lebert, from Birmingham, worked in retail before completing the course and being offered a position at The Guardian after graduating. He said: “During the course, you will acquire the skills to meet the challenging demands of the changing newsroom and face of the industry. The course was brilliant – if you are like me and are struggling to get into the industry, I encourage you to apply.
Others include Amneet Kaur, Social Media Engagement Producer at Birmingham Live, who said: “Taking the NCTJ course was the best decision I have ever made, it has given me the knowledge and training I need. I needed to get into the industry. If you’re serious about getting a job as a journalist, this is the best way to go.
Danny Thompson worked in warehouses and call centers before signing up to take the course and now works as a reporter at Coventry Live.
“If you are interested in journalism and want to make a career out of it, and are willing to work hard and put in the effort, taking the course at Wolverhampton is the way to go,” he said.
Other alumni of the course work as local democracy reporters, BBC video reporters, at Sky Sports, BBC radio stations and in public relations roles.
Express & Star journalist James Vukmirovic completed the course in 2019.
He said, “I found it to be a great tool to help me get into the industry I had always wanted to work in.
“You learn all the intricacies of writing a story, the law behind it, the ethics behind it, how to make a digital story, how to make a print story and how to become a journalist apart entire.”
For more information, visit the course website to view student work and visit the college website to apply.