Press Association is to close its award-winning journalism training centre in Newcastle after publisher Trinity Mirror ended its lease.
The publisher has also brought to a close an agreement whereby the Newcastle centre provided training for its national and regional press journalists.
The training centre in Newcastle was opened in 1969 and was taken over by Press Association in 2006. For most of that time it has been based at Thomson House (pictured above, Google), which is also the home of the Newcastle Chronicle, Journal and Sunday Sun.
It has been the main training centre for Trinity Mirror journalists (particularly graduate trainees).
Press Association head of training Mark Wray said the closure was not due to a lack of demand from outside students, but was caused by the ending of arrangement with Trinity Mirror. He said he was hopeful that Press Association would find new premises in the North East and be able to continue providing journalism training in the area.
Five staff and two freelance trainers are affected by the closure.
The centre will close at the end of the year once the 20 students currently on the National Council for the Training of Journalists diploma course have completed their studies.
Speaking from Newcastle, Wray told Press Gazette: “It is very much my intention to set up somewhere else in the North East of England. We had a training agreement and lease with Trinity Mirror that has come to an end.
“Since 1969 around 2,000 trainee journalists have been through this centre. It has topped the NCTJ league tables and produced consistently outstanding results.
“Paul Jones who has run the training here, and his small team, have done a fantastic job. A number of stellar names from the industry have passed through these doors over the years.”
PA will still to run a multimedia MA course in conjunction with Newcastle University and it is in discussions with the university and the City Council about plans for the future.
Wray said: “It is obviously sad to see this centre go and its history come to a close, but its legacy will live on and the high standards that have been developed and passed on to so many hundreds of journalists will continue in a new place. I don’t know where that new place will be but I’m certain that will happen.”
Wray (who has been in post since July) said his plans were to grow Press Association training and that there was a growing demand for journalism training. PA continues to offer a range of journalism courses at its London headquarters.