News Journalism (Fast Track)

Key information
Course Type: 
Subject Area: 
Journalism and Media
Level 3
Start Date: 
September 2014
Awarding Body: 
Please call 01279 868100 for more information
About the course: 

The programme is intensive and the pressure to meet deadlines is real. You need to be committed but the programme is also good fun. You will meet lots of like-minded people who could be good contacts in the future. The programme comprises: news reporting, public affairs, press law and shorthand with options to study sport, video journalism, subbing or the business of news. It is examination and portfolio based to help prepare you for the pressures of a newsroom, where you will be asked to draw on knowledge of press law and public affairs at a moment’s notice and be able to produce concise and accurate stories to meet deadlines.

You may also be interested in our Magazine Journalism Fast Track course.


National Council for the Training of Journalists

Who is the course suitable for?: 

To be accepted on to this course, a Degree (in any discipline) is preferred, although consideration will be given to those with experience or employer sponsorship. English GCSE at grade B or above (or equivalent) is essential.

Entry Requirements: 

Applicants sit a written entrance examination in English, general knowledge and news writing (the NCTJ Stage 1 test), and those who achieve 60% or more in this test will be called for an interview for the fast-track course. Those who gain a pass of below 60% in the Stage 1 Test will be eligible for either the One Year Magazine Journalism programme or the One Year News Journalism programme which run for a full year using the same syllabus. Successful applicants will be made firm offers or conditional offers in anticipation of their having obtained the required educational qualifications before the start of the programme and preferably, work experience.

Why Study?: 

The National Council for the Training of Journalists is Britain’s leading journalism industry trainer and editors regard the NCTJ diploma as a bench-mark of quality.

The Journalism Centre at Harlow College is Britain's oldest journalism school and is recognised as a leader in training by the industry. Staff have worked in many areas of journalism and retain strong links with the industry. Alumni include Piers Morgan, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and former This Morning presenter Richard Madeley.

Progression Opportunities: 

Once you have completed the programme, you can seek employment with local or regional newspapers where you are likely to enter into an 18 month training programme at the end of which you can sit the NCTJ National Certificate Examination (NCE). You will then have the full qualifications to become a senior reporter.

Why Harlow?: 

The Journalism Centre at Harlow College is Britain's oldest journalism school and is recognised as a leader in training by the industry. Most staff have worked as journalists (some still do) and have excellent links with the industry. Harlow college is ranked first in the country for success rates. Ofsted highlighted some outstanding features at their last inspection in 2010. The team are highly qualified and experienced and provide excellent support and guidance to our students and the team will support you through your programme of study both in and out of class. You are more likely to be successful here than in any other local regional college.

Core Modules: 

Reporting Multimedia Portfolio Shorthand Essential Public Affairs Essential Media Law Media Law (Court Reporting)

Optional Modules: 

Video Journalism for Online Sub-editing Sports Journalism

Additional information
Assessment methods: 

This is mainly an exam-based programme with a written exam in journalism, plus a portfolio of news stories, an exam in public affairs and two in press law. The first set of exams will be held just over halfway through the programme, the second set will take place towards the end of the course. Shorthand exams are held on set dates that are fixed across the country. You will have several chances to take the exam. You will be required to write stories to deadlines in order to prepare for the exams and for work as a journalist. Work will be assessed through self-analysis and discussion with your tutor and peer group, as well as being individually marked by lecturers.

Who will be teaching?: 

Apart from writing, the teaching staff have a wide range of journalism skills including video, radio, podcasting, law, public affairs, shorthand etc. The faculty includes news and sports writers and TV and radio journalists.

WIll I need to provide anything?: 

For journalism classes you will need a reporter’s notebook, a memory stick, a dictionary and a contacts (address) book. For shorthand classes and workshops you will need a shorthand notebook and a copy of "Teeline Gold Standard” by Marie Cartwright/"Teeline Fast" by Ann Dix.

How many people will be on the course?: 
Between 15 - 25
What support will be provided?: 

Our Teaching and Learning Strategy is at the core of our approach to our students and their learning. We aim to provide a learning community where students achieve excellence and where achievement is celebrated. We want you to enjoy your time at college and to be successful. As a student at Harlow College you can expect the following approaches to teaching and learning:

  • Your tutors will plan your learning so that you have the opportunity to achieve at your maximum potential
  • They will ensure that you have plenty of opportunities to apply and consolidate your learning and will encourage and support you
  • You will have an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) where you will be set agreed daily and weekly targets. Your tutors will make it clear to you what your focus for each individual day should be and will work with you until you achieve your daily targets
  • Your targets and your achievement will be monitored on a daily and weekly basis to ensure that your learning is successful and so that you are clear as to how well you are progressing
  • You will need to monitor your own progress too. We want you to become self-critical and to think about how you can improve
  • We will expect you to work hard and productively and to be in college for as long as it is necessary for you to meet your targets and succeed in your learning. The pace at which you work is your choice but you will be expected to meet your daily target before you finish for the day
  • Lectures
  • Practical sessions
  • Individual study within and outside of programme hours
  • Key skills integrated into the main programme
  • Tutorials, workshops, Individual Learning Plans, regular feedback to parents, Additional Learning Support in the classroom or on a one-to-one basis if required
Apply for this course
How to apply: 

Application forms for the programme can be obtained by ringing Harlow College Admissions on 01279 868100

Interview process: 

Applicants attend an interview and sit a two-hour exam that includes questions on news writing, editing and general knowledge.