Guardian extends digital training to all staff

LONDON - Guardian News & Media is looking to enroll all 800 of its staff journalists on a voluntary 'digital awareness programme' ahead of the publisher's move to a new 24/7 integrated newsroom this autumn.

The Guardian and Observer publisher, which is due to move to new offices in London's Kings Cross this November, has been in talks with the National Union of Journalists this week to discuss how to prepare staff for the new working environment.

GN&M managing editor Chris Elliott said the "digital awareness" scheme had already been provided to more than 100 journalists -- and he hoped everyone on the two titles would sign up.

Elliott said: "Everybody has the chance to take the first step. Then we've got to go into a much more detailed training scheme."

The one-day course provides journalists with basic familiarisation with video and audio equipment, and discuss the principles of web publishing.

Elliott said: "We're not telling them that they have to [take the course] as part of their contract.

"We hope that by the end of this, everyone will have gone on that course. We'd be worried if 500 out of the 800 flatly refused to go -- then we'd have to think again. But a lot of our people are really interested in this."

Guardian News and Media has been in talks with the NUJ since last year about the changes in working practices that a 24/7 operation will entail.

In November, the two parties reached an "enabling" agreement, with the help of arbitration body Acas, which granted staff a 4.8% pay rise.

The deal also included the opening of a voluntary redundancy scheme for journalists unwilling to make the move to the Kings Cross newsroom.

Nineteen journalists are reported to have volunteered to leave under the scheme, which closes in June 2009.

Read Gordon's Republic blog post on 'GMG and the capitalists' from earlier this week.  

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).

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