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University of Ulster hosts NCTJ Journalism Skills Conference November 23, 2011

25 November 2011

As part of its 60th birthday celebrations the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) will hold its annual Journalism Skills Conference at Belfast Metropolitan College on Wednesday, November 30 and at the University of Ulster, York Street on Thursday, December 1, 2011. This dynamic conference will provide the opportunity for stimulating discussions about the latest issues associated with developing professional journalists across all media sectors. The conference will also be an occasion to network and celebrate the achievements of those involved in journalism education and training.

Delegates attending on November 30, will first enjoy a keynote address and Q&A session at the Northern Ireland Assembly, Stormont, with Fearghal McKinney, SDLP communications consultant and Mike Nesbitt, Strangford MLA and UUP economy spokesman.

The Q&A session will focus on the interaction between politicians and the media and the way political issues are reported. Participants will then visit Belfast City Hall and Belfast Metropolitan College, before attending a gala awards ceremony at the Europa Hotel where the after dinner speech will be delivered by renowned BBC journalist, Raymond Snoddy OBE . On Thursday December 1, the conference moves to the University of Ulster’s Belfast campus where topics under discussion will include: Architects of Peace: The Media in Northern Ireland; Financial and Economic Reporting; Health Reporting and International Journalism.

Well-known participants in these debates include: Mark Simpson, Ireland Correspondent, BBC News; Jim Fitzpatrick, economics and business editor, BBC Northern Ireland and the University of Ulster’s media expert, Colm Murphy.The conference also features sessions on digital skills and technology in journalism and regulation and ethics, as well as informative workshops focusing on specialist areas such as finance and health. Dr Colm Murphy, Head of the University of Ulster’s School of Media, Film and Journalism, says:

“At a time of great debate about journalism ethics and new technology, it is fitting that the most influential people in journalism education in the UK will be discussing these issues in Belfast.

“A number of journalists in Northern Ireland have risked their life and liberty to live up to the highest principles of the profession and many of the best in the world learnt their craft here during the Troubles.

“The York Street campus is hosting this prestigious conference due to the success of the University of Ulster’s MA in Journalism, which the NCTJ ranked as their best performing accredited course in the UK, in 2009.

“As well as attracting more than 60 delegates, the conference will enhance the reputation of Northern Ireland as a centre of excellence for journalism, particularly investigative journalism.

“The BBC is producing episodes of Panorama here and we hope that projects such as this will encourage more such investment and make use of the great journalistic talent available in Northern Ireland.”

Joanne Butcher, NCTJ Chief Executive says: “I’m delighted we are able to bring the NCTJ’s Journalism Skills Conference to Belfast in our 60th anniversary year as there is a real commitment to quality journalism training in Northern Ireland.

“The NCTJ and the University of Ulster have been collaborating for many years and the journalism course topped our results tables three years ago.

“2011 is a milestone year, not just for the NCTJ in celebrating 60 years of quality journalism training, but also for professional journalism training with Belfast Metropolitan College and North West Regional College joining the University of Ulster in delivering the new Diploma in Journalism.

“I’m therefore delighted we are able to bring the Journalism Skills Conference to Northern Ireland as part of our celebrations and it iswonderful to have the support of our centres and be able to visit their excellent facilities.” If you would like to attend, contact Shevon Houston, NCTJ Event Manager, on: 01799 544014. E: Full programme details can be found on the NCTJ website: