NCTJ Diploma in News Journalism

Think you’ve got a nose for news? Learn how to sniff out the best stories, verify information and write a story everyone wants to read

What makes a great news story? Study for your fast-track NCTJ Diploma in Journalism with PA Media Academy and you’ll benefit from working with expert trainers who really understand what it takes to land an exclusive that sets the agenda.

As the UK & Ireland’s national news agency, the PA Media newsroom sets the standard for fast, accurate, fair reporting – and in 19 weeks, the NCTJ Diploma in News Journalism will help you achieve that standard and take the first steps in your career as a reporter. Our training is hands-on and includes news days where you’ll run your own newsroom, and live exercises where you’ll be tasked with interviewing people, attending a press conference, and covering a breaking news event.

Learn from practising journalists and work closely with a copy tutor who will act as your first editor, meaning you’ll be newsroom-ready with an enviable portfolio by the end of your course. If you’re committed and keen to make an impact, we’d love to hear from you.

Who the course is for

If you’re interested in people and their lives and are curious about the world, you might make an excellent news reporter. We’d love to hear from you if you:

You love asking questions, finding out why and what happens next
You are committed to building a career in journalism and prepared to work hard
You are ambitious and impatient to get your career started
You want to learn from experts with huge industry experience

Apply now
PA Media Conference - A mix of apprentices and NCTJ Diploma students


  • 19-week programme of study at our London HQ
  • The next course intake begins 2 September 2024


  • 61 Queen Street, London, 
  • We are based in the heart of the city, a short walk from parliament and the central criminal court.


  • £5,563 for the full course.
  • Fees can be paid by instalments.

NCTJ Diploma modules

  • Essential Journalism – the basics of how to get the story and develop strong writing skills. No matter the role you’re aiming for, you’ll need to show these skills to get the job
  • Ethics – understand the code that guides journalists and discuss real-life issues
  • Essential Media Law and Court Reporting – this is essential for any journalist. The toolbox no journalist can be without, and every editor wants to know you have
  • Journalism for a Digital Audience – understand how digital publishing organisations work and how to write brilliant stories across all digital platforms
  • Public Affairs – understand how power works and how you can challenge it
  • Shorthand – develop the skills to write 100 words a minute

After five weeks study, you will then choose a specialism so you can build your skills and knowledge in an area that interests you. If you choose the news pathway, Fridays will be spent doing work experience and building your portfolio.

Your portfolio

For candidates interested in developing specialist skills as news reporters, you will build a significant portfolio of work and gain hands-on reporting experience through  a weekly work placement. This will allow you to pursue your own stories, build contacts, and impress editors when it comes to finding a challenging reporter role.

Into the newsroom

You will spend every Friday for 10 weeks in an active newsroom. You’ll already have basic skills by this point, so this is your opportunity to practise and develop, while gaining a great network and a good understanding of how newsrooms work. PA Training tutors will be available to support you through this process.

Multimedia training

You’ll receive video and audio training as part of your course and will also build a strong portfolio of stories so you have a range of work to show editors when it comes to finding a job.

Journalism careers

We have excellent links with newsrooms and understand what hiring editors are looking for. During your course you’ll meet journalists from national newsrooms who are doing your dream job – and can tell you how to get it. We can also offer support and advice to those choosing freelance careers. After the course you’ll be able to join our alumni network and build connections with other PA Training graduates.

Contact us

Learning outcomes

  • Confidently write a compelling news report
  • Develop the skills for good storytelling
  • Understand the code that guides journalists
  • Acquire essential media law and court reporting knowledge
  • Learn how to create excellent digital content
  • Build your shorthand speed to 100 words a minute
Apply now

Why train with PA Media Academy?

Find out more
  • Newsroom connected with national and international reach
  • More than 50 years’ experience training journalists and PRs
  • All courses are expert-led by working media professionals
  • Trainers have a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives
  • Small class sizes allow for practical, interactive exercises
Find out more

What our students say

View all testimonials

I really could not recommend Press Association enough to anyone who is looking to jump into the fascinating world of journalism. The course equips you with all the necessary skills you need to enter the industry and the wide range of topics covered leaves it hard for you to ever feel bored.

Holly Bishop
, Digital Reporter
, GB News

I was able to count on excellent teachers and professionals who helped me push my limits and achieve my goals. I was impressed by the quality of the course and the motivation teachers put into it. It was a great experience and I would definitely do it again!

Laure Poncet
, Research Officer
, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes

The lifelike interview settings and tasks that PA Media Training deal in replicate perfectly the real-world feel of a tough media interview and help the delegates come out of the day feeling much more confident that they can play an active role in representing their organisation.

Transport for London
, Director of Communications & Corporate Affairs

The teaching I received was second to none and despite having no experience whatsoever in journalism, the tutors made sure there was a friendly environment where I felt welcome to ask any questions I needed. I was able to finish the course and go into a job working for The Sun.

Olivia Allhusen
, Junior Journalist
, The Sun

The methods and techniques you learn (and apply) on a daily basis through teaching, coursework and eventually exams crop up again and again in both job applications and jobs themselves – the course content is directly relevant to the realities of the industry. 

James Saunders
, Digital News Reporter
, GB News

It’s a great place to make connections – networking with teachers, guest speakers and fellow students can be key to gaining advice or even job opportunities during and after the course. 

James Saunders
, Digital News Reporter
, GB News 

Contact us

For more information , simply fill out the form and a member of our team will be in touch.

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