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Apprenticeship training course

Senior journalist (level 7)

To inform the public – either through news and current events, or through the creation of authoritative features, opinion or analysis.

Qualification level
Equivalent to master’s degree.
Typical duration
18 months
Apprenticeship category
Creative and design
Maximum funding
Maximum amount government will fund
for apprenticeship training.
Also known as
  • Audience relationship manager
  • Broadcast journalist
  • Content editor
  • Digital editor
  • Features editor
  • Journalist
  • Multimedia reporter
  • Senior journalist
  • Senior reporter
  • Video journalist
Skills an apprentice will learn
  • Identify and use techniques to extract compelling stories from (big) data sets, social media and dense reports, such as financial information from companies or government to create the most effective story or feature for the target audience..
  • Undertake thorough research before reporting to ensure that content/material published or broadcast is accurate, compelling and verifiable
  • Identify, select and use multiple sources of information, cross-checking and corroborating when necessary. Take accurate, relevant notes when and where needed
  • Present data stories in a visual way that helps the target audience understand the subject matter.
  • Research, evaluate and select a method and the platform(s) to be used to tell stories which will meet the employer’s strategic goals, reach the biggest audience and satisfy their needs. Seek ways to modify or introduce new techniques; combining information from multiple sources including people, reports, data and social media.
  • Produce content in accordance with legal, regulatory and organisational requirements; use different multimedia combinations, where needed, producing and sourcing video and audio assets
  • Make decisions and judgements at speed and when under pressure, on the way stories are researched and presented, ensuring the media outlet is leading when breaking news
  • Assess the legal or regulatory issues and take responsibility for a course of action with regard to publication, and decide when professional legal advice is needed.
  • Interrogate sources of information to establish the demographic and sociographic profile of the employer’s target audience to find where suitable contacts could be located
  • Use contacts to find exclusive stories which meet the needs of the target audience; verify information from contacts and critically review its short and long-term implications
  • Identify and evaluate the qualities of self and contacts to make decisions as to how best to nurture the informant; assessing where legal/regulatory/ethical problems may arise from working with a contact
  • Develop strategies to handle contacts and maintain loyalty, even when their information may not always lead to a story
  • Use audience data to evaluate the success of the strategy used and how that can inform future decision-making
  • Monitor relevant social media on a systematic basis, proactively seek new sources of user-generated content that will help improve targeted content, the number of viewers/readers and depth of engagement
  • Evaluate a wide range of social media platforms, identifying and selecting the appropriate social media for the content, maintaining the correct tone for the platform being used.
  • Produce stories which resonate with the audience as measured by audience analytics, social media interaction and reach, plus other internal "tools" used by employers to understand audience sentiment.
  • Undertake different types of interviews to extract information, even from those who are reluctant to speak; identifying and selecting the right interviewing technique to suit the interviewee.
  • Critically analyse answers from interviewees to inform questioning and, if needed, other people to speak to. Probe for detail and inconsistencies in replies from interviewee
  • Take responsibility for ensuring that material from outside sources is verified, conforms to all legal, regulatory and ethical issues and is presented to the audience in the correct manner
  • Critically evaluate own and team members work to ensure additional multimedia content is produced to industry standards and is of a quality to maintain and advance the organisation's reputation in the industry, making changes when needed.
  • Format and edit other’s material to meet the employer’s audience, following employer’s guides to editing, using approved programs and checking materials taking responsibility for devising strategies to reduce the time and costs of the editing process
  • Proactively develop and maintain own professional competence, with the willingness to learn new processes and technical skills, and manage own continuing professional development (CPD)
  • Lead the team in producing authentic, accurate and verifiable, publication/broadcast content
  • Research and set performance indicators for the team, communicating objectives and goals to team members; develops coaching strategies and training plans to help others improve.
  • Seek constructive feedback from relevant people about your performance; taking action as required
  • Build engagement, motivation and develop high performance, agile and collaborative cultures, demonstrating leadership skills and developing junior colleagues
  • Work through complex editorial situations and dilemmas, at speed and when under pressure, demonstrating well-developed editorial judgement in line with their organisation’s editorial values and aims
  • Use and develop systems to track contributions from outside sources, including any agreements made with the people submitting the content
  • Produces video or audio content which "draws in" the viewer/listener/user and adds value to the story being told

Full information on Senior journalist (level 7) is available from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

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