Meet the people who teach our courses

Find out more about our tutors.

Paul Jones

Paul Jones

Head of Foundation Course, Newcastle

Paul Jones is Head of Press Association Diploma Course Training.

Based in Newcastle, he has been running the centre since leaving the news desk of the Evening Chronicle.

Before that he was the paper’s Industrial Editor and also ran its biggest district office team.

Paul came to the North East after working in papers in Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

Under his leadership the Newcastle course has won several national awards and trainees from Newcastle have gone on to claim some of the highest profile media jobs in the industry.

One of the aims of the course is to establish each cohort of trainees as a North East news team in its own right.

Paul said: ‘’Every front page lead we bring in is framed and mounted on the walls of the centre. I am happy to say they are filling up fast.’’

Fiona Webster

Fiona Webster

Lead course tutor, NCTJ London

Fiona started out on local newspapers then became a freelance news reporter on The Times, Sun, Sunday Mirror and Mail on Sunday, where she was covering stories from the Harrods bombing to murder investigations. She joined The Sun under Kelvin Mackenzie’s editorship and became a senior member of his feature writing and celebrity interviewing team. She was assigned to the New York Bureau for News Corp, as a reporter and feature writer, covering breaking stories across the US.

She has also been a columnist with her own opinion page on The Daily Mirror under Piers Morgan’s editorship, an opinion columnist with the Daily Star and wrote a column for the Daily Mail on Internet issues. As freelance writer she has had her work published in the Independent, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Sunday Times, The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Star, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and a number of national magazines.

She enjoys writing first person pieces, interviewing celebrities and people from all walks of life. She heads up the London course teaching reporting skills.

Pat Hagan

Pat Hagan

Deputy Head of Foundation Course, Newcastle

Pat started as a general reporter on an evening paper before becoming local government correspondent on a regional morning. She moved to production for a six-month sabbatical and loved it so much she stayed. She has worked on a number of titles since then, designing, subbing and proofreading. And for seven years she wrote a weekly column that appeared in a couple of papers. She is the law tutor on the NCTJ Diploma course. And as a professional nitpicker (and proud of it) she delights in combing trainees’ copy – word, by word, by word.

Andrew Knight

Andrew Knight

Law and Government Tutor, London

An award-winning writer with a long career in regional newspaper journalism, our tutor has been a freelance editorial training consultant since 2002, specialising in media law and public affairs, as well as vocational journalism training.

A member of the law board of the National Council for the Training of Journalists, he has been teaching media law and government on NCTJ- approved courses for the past 10 years, as well as lecturing in further and higher education.

He has run regular law refresher courses for a variety of organisations, including Lloyds TSB, Media Wales, Avon & Somerset Police, Gwent Police and the London School of Journalism. He also currently teaches law and public affairs on the Press Association’s intensive fast-track journalism course in London.

As a working journalist, he began his journalism career in Scotland on the Aberdeen Evening Express, where he won a number of writing awards, including Young Scottish Journalist of the Year, and later became the paper's features editor.

He moved to BBC Scotland in Glasgow, but returned to print journalism and spent five years as assistant editor of The Bath Chronicle, principally responsible for the paper's features and entertainments coverage. He has had widespread freelance writing experience and been heavily involved in journalism training for the past 20 years with a variety of newspaper groups.

He held a full-time post as editorial training manager for Trinity Mirror's Western Mail & Echo newspapers in Cardiff for two years prior to becoming a full-time freelance tutor and lecturer, based in London.

Sylvia Bennett

Sylvia Bennett

Shorthand Tutor, London

Sylvia Bennett is the shorthand tutor for the Press Association foundation course in London. She says:

She have trained shorthand teachers for the Jersey Post and, as course tutor and mentor at both Hastings College of Arts and Technology and the School of Nursing at the old Royal East Sussex Hospital, She trained instructors for adult education centres, the police, the prison service and senior nursing staff for the health authority. She is a qualified hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner and metaphysical counsellor/practitioner.

Susan Nixon

Susan Nixon

Shorthand Tutor, Newcastle

Susan Nixon is the shorthand tutor at the Press Association Training Centre in Newcastle. She has been teaching shorthand since 1987.

She originally learnt Pitman New Era shorthand and reached 120 words per minute. She then switched to Teeline, which is now the industry standard for reporters. In more than 20 years of working at the Newcastle Training Centre she has helped more than 800 trainees reach 100 words per minute – and more. Her course record is an astonishing 150 words per minute, which is faster than some people speak! Don’t let anyone hoodwink you into believing shorthand isn’t crucial to the job; editors will tell you otherwise.

Mark Batey

Mark Batey

Video Journalist

Mark Batey is a video journalism trainer who has worked with hundreds of broadcast and print journalists. With many years experience as a BBC VJ, producer and reporter, he uses story-based training methods to take absolute beginners and give them the confidence to create great video reports. On a typical course you will learn how to plan a shoot, how to construct sequences of shots and film interviews that sound and look professional. You will learn how to write for television and edit your footage into engaging stories that will make an impact on television and the web.

Garry Willey

Garry Willey

Public Affairs Tutor, Newcastle

Garry Willey is the Public Affairs Tutor for the Press Association NCTJ Diploma course in Newcastle. Garry has held the position of senior reporter with the Sunderland Echo, district reporter at the Newcastle Journal, and was the senior crown court reporter for the Evening Chronicle from 1991 and more recently also with The Journal. He is now a freelance journalist.

Garry is now the Newcastle Centre’s Public Administration lecturer as well as taking special responsibility for court writing and reporting.

He also takes copy clinics and is responsible for formerly assessing the trainees progress twice a course.

Neil Fitzgerald

Neil Fitzgerald

Journalism tutor, London

Neil started in journalism as a trainee sub-editor with Haymarket Publishing. Over three decades he has built on his skills and experience as sub- and production editor to

gain recognition as editor and writer on business, finance, corporate law and accountancy for dailies and magazines and later online, and as consultant and adviser in corporate communications and PR. Neil has successfully launched or relaunched a number of business and management titles, most recently within a global investment bank based in Germany where he ran a German editorial team. He has also been responsible for conceiving and implementing new pages, columns and feature series on business, finance and the professions, such as with the Glasgow Herald and British Airways’ Business Life magazine. Many of these have been developed and secured on behalf of key communications clients in the financial services, professional services, energy and food and drink industries. ,

He has a Masters in Intercultural Communications from Birkbeck, University of London. He teaches Production and Specialisation (now titled The Versatile Journalist) and Professional and Strategic Communications at Birkbeck; media, cross-cultural communication, human resources, leadership, and business psychology as adjunct professor at Hult International Business School; and British culture and work issues at New York University in London. And he has long been engaged in training and coaching journalists in news and feature writing, sub-editing and business journalism, as well as financial and B2B PRs and internal communications managers

Neil has had a book published - Money, explaining the financial markets and business to teenagers - and is also an actor, presenter, and jazz singer.

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Jack Hardy

"I'm six months into my first journalism job and I struggle to think of anything the Newcastle PA course failed to prepare me for.

"Everything we learnt was made to fit effortlessly in to 17 weeks. It was impressively comprehensive - leaving me confident in doing everything from court reporting to play reviews - but not remotely rushed."

Jack Hardy // Trainee reporter, Press Association

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