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Occupational Certificate: Journalist 
101872  Occupational Certificate: Journalist 
Development Quality Partner - MICTSETA 
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
Occupational Certificate  Field 04 - Communication Studies and Language  Communication Studies 
Undefined  193  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  Regular-ELOAC 
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Reregistered" 
SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2023-06-30 
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification replaces: 
Qual ID Qualification Title Pre-2009 NQF Level NQF Level Min Credits Replacement Status
58978  National Certificate: Journalism  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  120  Complete 

The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as a Journalist. A Journalist originates and pitches content ideas, collects and analyses information for journalistic use and creates and delivers content for an array of journalistic purposes in a variety of formats and on various media platforms.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Originate and pitch content ideas for media use.
  • Collect and analyse information for journalistic use.
  • Create and deliver content for a variety of journalistic purposes and formats.

    Journalists play an important role in society. Journalists keep the public informed about developments, events and issues and how these affect people's lives. They investigate stories, provide critique and educate the public. They carry the responsibilities to convey the information in a balanced and accurate manner. The historical qualification in Journalism has enjoyed considerable uptake since its registration. However, it lacks formal provision for incorporating multimedia platforms in converged newsrooms. The revised qualification covers online/digital journalism and includes an understanding of social media in journalism and the involvement of readers/users in setting news agendas and providing feedback.

    This occupational qualification will meet the sector's needs for journalists entering the profession as general reporters and who can operate on various platforms radio, television, print and on-line. Journalists must be able to generate stories in text, video, still image and sound. Typical learners will include those who are in a journalism environment, school-leavers who wish to pursue a career in journalism or college or university graduates who want a hands-on experience of the newsroom. Benefits to the learner will include a nationally recognised qualification that will improve the current competencies of journalists and adequately prepare them for the future.

    Learners will receive a high standard of training and education in journalism that is occupationally aligned. Once qualified, learners will be able to further their education and obtain access to sector related programmes. Employers will have access to suitably qualified general reporters. Benefits to society and economy include creating career pathways in the Sector, which will enable employees to move between platforms and move up the career ladder. This will create a healthy employment cycle, providing employment opportunities. 

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
    RPL for access to the external integrated Summative Assessment: Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related curriculum document to establish and confirm prior learning. Accredited providers and workplaces must confirm prior learning by issuing a statement of result or certifying a work experience record.

    RPL for access to the qualification: Accredited providers and approved workplaces may recognise prior learning against the relevant access requirements.

    Entry Requirements:
    A Level 4 qualification with Communication and Computer Literacy. 


    This qualification is made up of the following compulsory Knowledge and Practical Skill Modules:
    Knowledge Modules:
  • 264203000-KM-01, Introduction to journalism, Level 5, 6 Credits.
  • 264203000-KM-02, The legal and ethical framework for the media, Level 6, 8 Credits.
  • 264203000-KM-03, Governance and democracy, Level 5, 8 Credits.
  • 264203000-KM-04, Origination and pitching of content ideas, Level 5, 9 Credits.
  • 264203000-KM-05, Information gathering, Level 5, 11 Credits.
  • 264203000-KM-06, Storytelling, Level 5, 10 Credits.
  • 264203000-KM-07, Personal development, Level 5, 6 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 58.

    Practical Skill Modules:
  • 264203000-PM-01, Originate and pitch content ideas, Level 5, 13 Credits.
  • 264203000-PM-02, Report by gathering information and materials, Level 5, 18 Credits.
  • 264203000-PM-03, Create publishable content, Level 6, 22 Credits.
  • 264203000-PM-04, Develop work-relevant personal skills, Level 5, 6 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 59.

    This qualification also requires the following Work Experience Modules:
  • 264203000-WM-01, Processes to observe and assist an experienced journalist in a selected range of journalistic activities, Level 5,4 Credits.
  • 264203000-WM-02, Processes to work as a junior member of a team to produce content, Level 5, 8 Credits.
  • 264203000-WM-03, Processes to work with news production colleagues on assigned content that is accepted for publication, Level 5, 28 Credits.
  • 264203000-WM-04, Processes to work on self-generated content that is accepted for publication, Level 6, 36 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 76. 

    1. Originate and pitch content ideas.
    2. Report by gathering information and materials.
    3. Create publishable content. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • The generation and prioritisation of story ideas demonstrates correct use of tools for idea generation and mining of a variety of sources.
  • Story idea is consistent with media organisations mission and news values and compatible with resource and platform requirements and constraints.
  • Legal and ethical issues pertaining to the story idea are interrogated and dealt with as per the applicable code.
  • Presentation of story idea shows consideration for format options, resource budgets and other implications.
  • Story idea is refined based on feedback and comment.
  • Delivery of pitch is in accordance with a checklist, and elicits participation and discussion.
  • Pitch is modified and turned into a practical action plan for reporting.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Story ideas of self and others are expanded and modified based on participation and contribution of self in content planning meetings.
  • Own story idea is refined through the use of useable notes and clarification on length/duration, placement, treatment, focus, angle, resources and deadlines.
  • Criteria of utility, relevance and appropriateness are developed and used for sifting material that has been researched and recorded in appropriate formats.
  • Material for a story is collected and collated through the formulation of relevant research questions, the utilisation of relevant tools, resources and role-players.
  • Preparations for interviews show careful planning and consideration for the assignment demands.
  • The interview is conducted with observance of appropriate protocols, tone, behaviour, timeframe and professionalism.
  • The interview demonstrates sensitivity towards cultural norms, employs a range of questioning and conversational techniques, empathy and flexibility and gives space to other members of the team.
  • Interview demonstrates application of techniques to respond to problems and pitfalls and the use of the appropriate questioning techniques.
  • Relevant technology is employed effectively and efficiently throughout the interview.
  • The interview is completed with agreement on follow-up and any required verification checks.
  • Interview is reviewed using appropriate techniques and criteria.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Appropriate preparations for content creation are completed timeously.
  • Appropriate writing style or packaging approach is created and employed.
  • A first draft or cut is created that conforms to requirements.
  • Consultation with role-players is undertaken and feedback incorporated within time and technical constraints.
  • Review processes are undertaken to improve quality and comply with all specifications and constraints.
  • Introduction or framing material is compelling and appropriate.
  • Additional required elements are created and used.
  • Final checks and consultation are conducted before submission to next production stage.
  • Story is tracked and additional assistance is provided before sign off.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Integrated Formative Assessment:
    The skills development provider will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment leads to entrance into the integrated external summative assessment.

    Integrated Summative Assessment:
    An external integrated summative assessment, conducted through the relevant Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) Assessment Quality partner is required for the issuing of this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the Exit Level Outcomes and Associated Assessment Criteria. The external summative assessment will be a test conducted through an evaluation of written and practical tasks covering critical aspects in a simulated environment at an assessment centre accredited by QCTO and conducted by a registered assessor. 

    The qualification was compared with qualifications in the following countries:
  • Australia.
  • New Zealand.
  • United Kingdom.

    The Jschool Journalism Education and Training was established to provide industry-relevant education and training for students seeking careers as journalists. Jschool's Diploma of Journalism is a vocational course that prepares students for entry-level positions in newspapers and other news organisations. It may be studied online, full-time over one year or part-time over two or more years. Its focus is the development of practical skills alongside relevant theory and professional education, including law and ethics. The course features, inter alia, intensive training in news reporting and writing methods, training in technical skills (including shorthand), supervised work placements on daily and weekly newspapers. Course units include:
    Introduction to Reporting and News Writing; History, Literature and Language for Journalists; Political Journalism; Technical Skills for Reporters; Law for Journalists; Multimedia Journalism; Issues in Journalism; Research and Writing for News Media.
    Macleay College offers the Diploma of Journalism. It is a fast-tracked, practical journalism course. It is specifically designed to prepare the learner for the media world by putting them to work as an actual newspaper journalist in Sydney or Melbourne from the first day of your journalism course. The learner will be given in-depth and practical journalism training and learn the basics of news research and what makes a great story, as well as the essential skills to become a specialist writer or a foreign correspondent.

    The learner will also gain a solid foundation in video journalism including camera work and news production, as well as radio journalism skills and classes that help them find their professional voice. It is the most comprehensive way to become job-ready for journalism within just one year and it is all right here at Macleay College.

    New Zealand:
    Whitireia Journalism School focuses on multimedia, ensuring that graduates learn research, reporting, writing and camera skills required for journalism on the internet and for newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. The programme differs from university-based journalism courses in its focus on practical work and the high degree of one-to-one tutoring available.

    The core modules include: News reporting (current affairs and news knowledge, research, interviewing); News writing (for internet, print, radio, TV); News media digital photography; Media law and ethics; Bicultural reporting and diversity reporting; Reporting crime and emergency services; Numeracy and polls; Local government reporting; Media industry; Shorthand note taking and keyboard skills.

    The electives (three required) include: Website editing; TV reporting; Radio reporting with audio; Newspaper feature writing; Newspaper layout and design; Magazine feature writing.

    United Kingdom:
    The National Council for the Training of Journalist (NCTJ) offers a Level 3 Diploma in Journalism qualification that editors look for when recruiting a trainee journalist. The learner can study the Diploma by attending one of their accredited centre-based courses or by distance learning. The course will equip one with the knowledge and skills for professional entry level journalism. To gain the Diploma, all candidates must complete the five mandatory subjects and the core skills for all journalists plus at least two of the specialist options.

    The structure and content of the Diploma in Journalism is below.

    Core Skills.
    Reporting; Portfolio; Essential Public Affairs; Essential Law and Regulation; Shorthand; Practical journalism ethics.

    Specialist Options.
    Media Law Court Reporting; Sports Journalism; Video journalism for Online; Business of Magazines; Production Journalism; Business and Finance Journalism, Broadcast Journalism, Photography for Journalists.

    The qualifications discussed above share a number of competencies with this qualification. The United Kingdom (UK) qualification resonates adequately with the competencies with the South African qualification. The major difference is that the South African qualification does not offer any electives. 

  • National Certificate: Public Service Communication, Level 5, (ID: 50583).

  • Diploma in Journalism Studies, Level 6, ID: 84786). 

  • NOTES 
    Qualifying for external assessment:
    In order to qualify for an external assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required standards by means of statements of results and work experience.

    Additional legal or physical entry requirements:

    Criteria for the accreditation of providers.
    Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant curriculum on the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) website.

    The curriculum title and code is: Journalist: 264203000.

    This qualification encompasses the following trades as recorded on the NLRD:
    This is not a trade qualification.

    Part Qualifications:

    When qualifications are replaced, some (but not all) of their learning programmes are moved to the replacement qualifications. If a learning programme appears to be missing from here, please check the replaced qualification.

    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.