Journalism training: our 2011 lists now published

Sports journalism student JON VALE has completed the exhausting task of updating the SJA’s listing of journalism courses, with a more exhaustive list of sport and media related courses than we have ever published before

When it comes to the multi-faceted subject of journalism training, it is surely worth listening to Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford.  With his finger on the pulse of all that goes on in this rapidly changing environment, surely he can offer nothing but objective, comprehensive and rational advice when it comes to this trickiest of fields, giving a rare moment of clarity among the bustling swirl of options that currently cloud the market place of journalism training?

So his opinion in a recent blog? “‘Most journalism courses are crap.”  Oh, right. That’s the past three years of my life well spent then…

Ponsford’s not the only high-profile figure wading into the debate.  Kelvin Mackenzie, the former editor of The Sun, wrote a piece in The Independent that proclaimed: “I’d shut down all the journalism colleges today.”

But there is an alternative view. The chief executive of the NCTJ, Joanne Butcher, responded by saying: “Newspapers simply don’t take on many raw recruits these days.”

With ever more journalism training options available, and the imminent rise in tuition fees due in September 2012, the whole issue of how to become a “qualified sports journalist” becomes all the more intimidating for anyone looking for the elusive pathway to the top.

The Sports Journalists’ Association is trying to shed some light on it.  In its training section, updated annually, there is in its Training and Courses section of this website an updated and extensive list of all the undergraduate and postgraduate courses available, with entry requirements and contact details listed with each.  With nearly twice as many postgraduate courses listed compared to last year, there is no sign of the journalism training “boom” slowing down.

There is also a collection of non-university options listed in the other courses section, along with details of work experience opportunities with some of the country’s most prominent media organisations.

This does not offer everything you need to know. That’s why we also attempt to add a hefty dollop of advice from experience journalists and trainers in to the mix, aimed at providing insight into what is required, right from GCSE-level pupils at school, through to post-graduate training courses, in our advice archive.

This all offers an impartial starting point, a place where you can look at all the options available without a pushy admissions tutor bribing you with talk of “undergraduate employment rates” and “student satisfaction surveys”. Though when you have honed your selection down, you probably want to take a look at that sort of information, too, when making your final choice between courses or colleges.

And which path you then wish to take is then entirely up to you.


Mon Sep 12: SJA Autumn Golf Day, Muswell Hill GC. Click here for more details and to book yourself in for the day.

Wed Dec 7: SJA 2011 British Sports Awards – Booking now open. For more details, click here.

All details subject to alteration. Keep checking for updates