How to become a journalist in the UK, qualifications required, courses, finding funding, passing NCTJ exams, books required for NCTJ Diploma in Journalism, free exam questions to help you practice, links to other resources for journalists from fully qualified journalist, Paulyn Lloyd.

This page has been set up as a resource for aspiring journalists, wannabe hacks and people who just want to know how you become a journalist. It includes tips for passing NCTJ exams, getting work experience as a journalist and is specifically centred around the new NCTJ Diploma in Journalism as opposed to the old Certificate in Journalism. The new Diploma is centred around Multimedia Journalism and includes units to help with online journalism, broadcast journalism as well as the more traditional units Law, P.A. and Teeline Shorthand.

I include advice on the best books and other websites where you can find courses, jobs and placements. 

Gaining your NCTJ qualifications is the traditional way in to this competitive industry and demonstrates to employers you already have skills in Journalism and are serious about a career in journalism.

If you use the Search Posts box on the right of this page you will be able to find information on most aspects of journalism.

Thanks for visiting my page, hope you find it useful.

Sample NCTJ Diploma in Journalism questions

June 19, 2011
It is worth practicing exam questions before you take the final exams because it will get you used to writing about the subject and getting used to approaching the questions. We had a couple of mocks before our exams in Law and PA and did around 20 mock reporting papers before our proper exam.

However I also used to do questions at home just to test my knowledge and get me used to writing definitions and elaborating on the definitions and the answer. For example can you use recording equipment in a court? The answer is no but if you stipulate why and the date and section of the law and the consequences of using material that you have obtained in a court room or have been given you will have a better chance at obtaining more marks.

I have put Media Law and PA questions as these are the ones you need to know inside out. Reporting is a difficult exam however that is as much  about concentration on the day as it is revision. However I will add some at a later date.

The questions below are from past papers and may come up in future papers.

Law and court reporting questions

Two  men appear at a magistrates court, accused of sexually assaulting boys. The court clerk begins the hearing by checking the defendants' names and addresses with them and she reads the charges to them. After the court grants both men bail their solicitors ask the magistrates to make an order under section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 to prohibit publication of the defendants' home addresses because otherwise, the solictors argue, the defendants will possibly suffer violence from the local community. In support of the application the solicitors quote article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Assume that you are a reporter at this hearing and that you draft a note to the magistrates to object to such an order being made. In the note, what would you state about:

(a) the circumstances in which a section 11 order can be imposed
(b) the European Convention on Human Rights?

(20 marks)

List the three circumstances, as specified by the Contempt of Court Act where a court may hold that a disclosure of a persons source of information is necessary. Give one example from legal history where this section of the Act has involved a journalist. (10 marks)

(a) What is the purpose of an inquest in the circumstances of
       (i) Death?
       (ii) treasure?

(b) On what grounds may reporters and the public be excluded from an inquest?What is the official document, setting out inquest? What is the official document setting out inquest procedures for coroners, which specifies any such ground? How may evidence be taken at an inquest other than by a witness appearing in person?

(c) How can the verdict of an inquest be challenged?

(30 marks)

(a) The first two sentences of a court story read:-
A window cleaner went to jail yesterday when he admitted theft.
At Downtown Crown Court, John Smith, 45, of Nicholson Grove, Callender, was given a two year suspended sentence.

What is inconsistant in this story? Explain your conclusion.

(b) A man facing three charges of burgalary is jailed for six months, 12 months and eight months, the sentence is to run concurrently. How long will he actually serve?

(c) Define: Community order
                   Absolute discharge
                   Conditional discharge                                             (20 marks)

A car out of control crashes into a children's play area and kills five young people. In the enormous national publicity that follows, the pictures of all the dead are shown in newspapers and on TV. Two days later a man is charged with causing death by dangerous driving and magistrates make an order under section 39 of the Children and Young Person's Act 1933, banning the identification of any of the juvenille victims.

(a) What is the effect of a section 39 order?
(b) Are the magistrates correct in using this section in these circumstances?

The answers must indicate how conculsions are reached.
                                                                                                                  (10 marks)


(a) Bail (as granted by court)
(b) Surety                                                                                                   (10 marks)

NCTJ Diversity Fund- Funding for training

June 16, 2011

The bursary is available for people who have no other means to pay for the courses which are often thousands of pounds. The NCTJ want more diverse journalists to work within the journalism industry as most journalists are male and middle class. They are prepared to asssist people who are committed to a career in journalism with the costs of the course and living costs. So if you are interested in a career in journalism but are concerned about the cost then check out the Diversity Funds websit...

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NCTJ Diploma in Journalism-Passing Exams

June 13, 2011

The new NCTJ Journalism Diploma differs from the original qualification in that there are now seven units Essential Media Law, Public Affairs, Law-Court Reporting, Reporting (replaces Newswriting), Shorthand, Portfolio of articles 10 news stories and two features, and either sub-editing or sports writing. Some centres also offer video journalism as an option.

Essential Media Law and Law Court Reporting
If you read the Mcnaes Essential Law for Journalists book and pay attention to what you are t...

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Finding an NCTJ accredited Journalism course and the best NCTJ text books for a trainee Journalist

June 9, 2011

If you are reading this you are probably either considering a career in journalism and wondering how to go about it or you are trying to find out what books you will need for the course. I can help you with both these. I recently qualified as a journalist and completed the new NCTJ Diploma in Journalism at Manchester News Associates.

If you want to become a journalist whether its for a regional paper or one of the many online publications or even a broadcast journalist its pretty fundamental ...

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