BBC To Offer Journalism Master Classes Free Online

(Guardian) – THE PUBLIC WILL BE ABLE TO GAIN ONLINE ACCESS to master classes delivered by some of the BBC‘s best-known journalists, including John Simpson and John Humphrys, under plans to be announced later today.

BBC executives plan to let licence-fee payers use the corporation’s internal training website, which includes thousands of hours of material, as part of a range of partnership agreements. Rival news organisations and broadcasters will also be able to use the material.

The BBC claims the website is the most comprehensive of its type in the world. Other journalists who contribute material include the BBC business editor, Robert Peston, and the security correspondent, Frank Gardner.

This initiative will be unveiled later today at the official launch of the BBC Academy, the corporation’s dedicated centre of excellence for training in journalism, production, leadership and technology.

The BBC will claim the new initiatives are part of an unprecedented strategy to develop partnerships and give wider access to the corporation’s training resources and skills to support the wider UK media industry.

The website is part of the BBC College of Journalism, which has been running for three years as an internal BBC resource. It teaches basic journalistic skills as well as ethics and values. The site will be available free within the UK, and by subscription elsewhere.

Other ventures expected to be announced at the launch include a joint initiative with Channel 4 to increase understanding of diversity in the workplace through a series of workshops. The BBC will also team up with ITV to give people with disabilities a greater chance to find employment within the media industry.

The BBC will make its Multiplatform Foundation training model available to other broadcasters and organisations including the independent producers’ trade body, Pact, and the broadcasting union, Bectu.

Today’s BBC Academy launch will be attended by the director general, Mark Thompson, and the deputy director general, Mark Byford, who chairs the academy’s board.”The BBC is determined to support the wider UK media industry through difficult times and by sharing valuable training resources like the College of Journalism we can help to secure the best standards and learning in the world,” Byford will tell attendees at the launch.

“These new measures build upon our video news syndication, Radio Live Player and other partnerships to support the media industry which is why we are extending our partnership commitments in training to work with other organisations in a challenging media landscape.”

The BBC says the new initiative demonstrates that it is willing to help commercial competitors. The corporation has come under pressure to share resources with ITV and others because of the financial security the licence fee guarantees at a time when rivals are struggling in the wake of falling revenues.

The BBC’s Charter agreement with the government also includes a responsibility to train the broadcasting industry.