NewTrain enters another decade of reinforcing the newspaper industry
Friday, November 8, 2013
Posted by: Laura Sellers-Earl
By Anna Ortiz
Ball State University APME Coverage Team
Since 2003, NewsTrain has reached more than 5,000
journalists in 38 states, Washington D.C., and Canada. This year, the program
enters a new decade in providing workshops that are, as Associated Press Media
Editors leaders point out, integral.
"It’s the best thing we do,” said outgoing APME President
Brad Dennison. "It’s the best thing we’ve done in the past 10 years. Nothing is
more important in terms of the programs we offer.”
NewsTrain is a
national touring workshop for media leaders.
NewsTrain program director Michael Roberts said in a time
where newsrooms are dealing with budget cuts and staff reductions, training has
taken a critical hit. He said several industries look at training, but it’s
often absent in the newsroom.
where coaching has been dropped from the newsroom, it is not because people
don’t want to do it anymore,” Roberts said. "It’s because people have less
time, less resources. It’s been a tough time in the last decade, and it’s
really hurt coaching and training.”
President Bob Heisse said NewsTrain is an effective way to provide affordable,
nationwide training to newsrooms.
"Sure, you can
do webinars, but nothing beats the hands-on training you’ll get from workshops…”
Heisse said. "In newsrooms, the training needs to continue after college.”
Dennison said Roberts, who has led the program since 2011, has
made customization key. Roberts assesses each area to tailor the NewsTrain
workshop to its needs.
been involved with NewsTrain since its start in 2003 and has seen newsrooms
scramble to keep up with technology. Now, there is a push to focus on core
newsroom values like editing, writing and investigative journalism.
aimed at keeping journalists up to date on the best practices in a field where
the "media landscape changes every day,” Dennison said.
"We still have
the watchdog role,” Dennison said. "That’s how we stay relevant. We need to be
nimble as new technology comes along and decide what platform is the best way
to produce content. When we continue to find ways to produce news and be a good
watchdog, I think we’re doing well.”
early days, Dennison said NewsTrain workshops have sold out the past few years.
Each of the four annual workshops gets well over 100 attendees.
programs survive to their second year, third year - their 10th year,” Dennison
said. "To think of all that’s changed in 10 years in our field with the Web,
social media, video. NewsTrain is very much a program people continue to be
Roberts said coaching is needed for newsrooms to survive. It
can’t be ignored.
"If people don’t
feel like they’re improving, they get in a cycle day-to-day,” Roberts said. "It
hurts the profession, it hurts newsroom morale. Training isn’t an extra, it
isn’t a frill - it’s the core to running a high quality workplace.”