NCTJ Course Elements

Training with News Associates is fulfilling and – we like to think – good fun.


However, this should not disguise the fact that the programme of study is intense – we do what a university does in a year, but in 20 absorbing weeks. With a packed timetable and 40-hour weeks, it’s not for the faint-hearted!

You will study the core subjects of the NCTJ curriculum – news reporting, journalism portfolio, shorthand, media law, public affairs. You will have the option of adding another subject to your final diploma, choosing either sports journalism or production journalism as an optional module.

Media ethics also plays an important role across every subject.

We are open for business Monday to Thursday, 9.30am to 5.30pm – that’s usually four subjects a day, with just a half-hour break for lunch. The Friday will be spent at a work placement, putting into practice the theory you have learned on the previous four days.

While arranging the placement is primarily your responsibility (as you will know how far you can travel or which specialist interests you have), we never leave anyone stranded if they are let down. Whenever necessary, we will find you work that will produce cuttings to go in your portfolio.

Along the way, there will be a range of guest speakers – with experienced journalists, former trainees and leading industry figures from organisations such as the Press Complaints Commission regular visitors.

You will undertake a number of visits to court to put your media law into practice and see democracy in action – either covering elections (see here for press coverage) or council meetings.

You will produce content for every platform, in text and video, for online and print.

And, while most sessions will involve the whole class, there is time each week for individual tutorials. If anyone is feeling challenged by a topic, we will know immediately and we will work with you to address it.

Mentoring is the responsibility of all members of staff, including our full-time editors and reporters, who will give you as much time as you need. 


• Teeline Gold Standard for Journalists, by Marie Cartwright
• Essential Media Law for Journalists, by McNae
• Essential Public Affairs for Journalists, by James Morrison
For sports journalism trainees:
• Sports Journalism: The Inside Track, by James Toney



Multimedia and video journalism

Journalism portfolio

Journalism and news reporting

Shorthand (Teeline)

Essential media law & court reporting

Essential public affairs


Sports journalism

Production journalism