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    NewsTrain course descriptions

    NewsTrain course descriptions




The Big Picture

Why: You want to understand the latest developments in the digital transformation of journalism, and particularly, how the news media’s relationship with readers is changing.

Readers no longer are willing to reside at the receiving end of a monologue. This course reviews news consumption trends, and explores the lessons of social communities, innovative news sites and leading-edge technology. With lessons you can take home.


News Ethics and Values in the Digital Age

Why: News values and ethical decision-making remain critical, no matter the platform.

As new formats and concepts emerge, new issues involving ethics and standards develop too. For example: What are your policies on removing offensive anonymous postings? How do you police images that may have been altered? Do you use user content in an effective and important way? How do you correct errors? Should a journalist tell someone that he is taking their picture with a camera phone with the intention of posting it on the Web? Learn to apply your journalism values and ethical know-how to these intriguing new issues, as well as to old issues such as privacy, anonymous sources and tone as redefined by digital media.


Slideshows that Tell Stories – Learn skills to help you coach your staff to make slideshows that are more than some pictures strung together; tell a real story by adeptly marrying photography with words (audio or written). This course introduces frontline editors to common slide-show forms, and offers practical advice on which to choose in what situation, and how to make each story as effective as possible. 


Better Short-Form Video - Learn the terminology, the basics of what makes brief videos good: quality audio, lighting, narration and continuity, and a good story line. This course introduces frontline editors to common video story forms, and offers practical advice on which to choose in what situation, and how to make each story as effective as possible. 


Covering Communities in New Ways

Why: With tight staffing and new demands, it’s important to use technological tools as fully as possible.

How to use social networking, RSS feeds and other sites to improve your coverage. Also, how to mash up different gadgets and widgets to tell stories online.


Coaching Writers for Multiple Media

Why: More talk leads to an easier edit and faster turnaround for online.

You’ll learn how to coach rather than just fix stories on deadline. We explore an approach to coaching writers that involves reporters and editors working together throughout the entire story process for print and online, discussing ideas, focus, reporting, organization, structure and prose.


Mobile Delivery

Why: 80 percent of the world's population has available mobile phone coverage, and smartphone use is growing faster than any other kind of phone. 

Do you have a long-term mobile strategy? Is your staff MoJo savvy? What are mobile users looking for? This session examines the rapidly evolving mobile media landscape and generates a discussion of steps your newsroom can take to begin or enhance mobile gathering and distribution of content.


Your Data Strategy / What information to Collect, and What You Can Do With it

Why: In an increasingly data-driven environment, journalists must have a strategy for manging this kind of content.

This workshop teaches the fundamentals of news reporting, writing and editing, as journalists tag, organize, unpack and recombine the journalism that we produce. It provides ideas for how to apply technology in new and different ways, including mash-ups, mapping, graphing and more and it examines how other Web sites are using data-driven tools that you see, and those that you don’t see.  It also suggests ways to help your newsroom create a good data strategy.


Alternative Distribution / Putting Feeds, Aggregation and Social Networking to Work - This seminar explains how journalists can use burgeoning alternative ways to share content with users and readers. Participants learn how newsrooms can use tools like social widgets, Twitter, You Tube, RSS feeds and newsletters to distribute news and information.


Coaching Blogging

Why: Many blog; few do it well.

Different journalists and news organizations have different ideas about what a blog should be. Is it a column? A news and notes compilation? Does it always  involve updates? Reader interaction? This seminar teaches effective blog writing styles and also helps editors learn what subjects make good blogs and how best to involve readers.


Content Planning for Multiple Media

Why: It can no longer suffice to plan a story first and later say, "What have we got for the Web?”

Story planning currently involves developing stories simultaneously for print and digital. In this seminar you will learn how non-linear thinking helps you plan coverage on all platforms. You will practice techniques planning coverage of breaking news and enterprise stories, learning to develop from the very beginning the components for publication in multiple media.


Interviewing for Audio and Video This seminar helps editors learn interviewing techniques that staff members must employ to collect high quality audio that can effectively be used in videos, newscasts and audio slideshows.


Hands-on Video – Hands-on video training to help editors learn the basic elements of videography. Participants must bring any camera that records video, and if possible, a tripod.


Hands-on Video Editing – Hands-on introduction to editing video. Participants must bring a laptop installed with a working editing program.


Hands-on Sound Slides – Hands-on introduction to photographing and recording audio for a slide show, and compiling it into a story.


Story Forms for Print

Why: Well organized stories are better reads and communicate information more effectively.

Underlying every successful story is well-defined structure or form. This workshop teaches the essentials of story organization for daily stories and projects.


Alternative Story Forms for Print

Why: Newspaper readers like the non-linear presentations long-ago adopted by magazines and Web sites.

A mainstay of print news coverage is the routine story on civic issues or evergreen topics that are not, shall we say, terribly engaging. Fortunately, newsrooms can make routine coverage more interesting and digestible with alternative story forms. This seminar teaches editors to spot opportunities for these non-linear stories, and helps them make the most of both the available  newshole and staff time.


Helping Reporters Develop a Beat

Why: Beat-work is the heart of sound journalism.

Learn how to help reporters set goals, manage their time and define various kinds of stories so it is easier for them to spot opportunities off their beats. Learn to coach reporters on developing their sources and finding new ones. Learn to ask questions that help them develop more enterprise off a beat. Includes tips on how to find "listening posts” in a community to uncover what really is on the minds of your readers.


The Skeptical Editor

Why: You want to produce credible journalism.

As stories move through a newsroom, they develop a life of their own. What they need are clear-eyed skeptics who zero in on weaknesses. This session will cover how to edit skeptically, how to challenge the numbers as well as the words and how to activate your baloney detector.






Tough Times, Tough Decisions

Why: Frontline editors are on the spot for figuring out how to cover their communities well, even though they have smaller staffs and many more responsibilities and tasks.

This seminar helps editors learn to set priorities for news coverage and use of their time. It helps them approach the problems of too much work, shrinking staffs and a frenzied pace.


Leading in a Time of Change

Why: The ground is shifting, and from changes in corporate ownership to increasing job responsibilities to the digital transformation of media.

Rapid change is difficult for many people. Learn how to cope with the changing media landscape, and to stay true to your values in a swiftly shifting environment. Learn strategies to help you lead your staff through changing times, and motivate journalists to see the potential for doing great journalism in new ways.


Providing Effective Feedback

Why: Editors are also coaches and teachers.

You want to challenge your staff, and encourage them to do more and better work. You want them to grow and blossom, to try new things, pull them off successfully and make you look good. And there are things you would like them to stop doing, too. This seminar teaches the components of effective feedback and explores the power and pitfalls of  praise and criticism.


Handling Difficult Conversations

Why: Is there a problem you are not dealing with? We can help.

Learn how to plan and carry out a difficult conversation. Learn how to conduct yourself; words and phrases that will get through to the listener; what to do if things break down. Learn how to listen effectively, respond to feedback, and see clues that the other person is hearing the message.


Working in Teams

Why: Journalism is a team sport, but few editors are taught how to manage groups. 

Effective team management begins with setting goals, agreeing on team policies and procedures and continuously learning about how to work more effectively as a group. Learn how to lead a team, and to contribute most effectively as a team member.


Creating a Constructive Culture

Why: Because it sets the tone.
A newsroom’s culture is part climate, part custom and part values.  A culture that values communication, creativity and involvement in decision-making can enhance a newsroom’s efforts to produce good journalism and embrace change. A top-down culture does the opposite. As a frontline editor, you can learn to assess your newsroom’s culture, and learn steps to help create a more constructive atmosphere. This is not only about making your newsroom a nicer place to work; it's also about helping prepare for the changes that lie ahead.


Other key topics


Freedom of Information

An overview session to help editors put freedom of information into action as well as words.  This session will provide an overview of best practices for effectively using the federal Freedom of Information Act and state open records laws for daily and beat stories and long-term projects. Among the topics covered will be examples of great stories from FOI requests; scheduling records requests as a routine part of news coverage and a discussion of practical strategies for requesting and negotiating for documents and databases.  This module is presented in conjunction with the Investigative Reporters & Editors.



Your Cultural Tool Box

Developing stories that appeal to diverse audiences and handling controversial topics is not so difficult once you have the right skills.  Journalists need cultural literacy, new reporting techniques and communication skills that can reduce the risk of misunderstandings. Learn to cover taboo issues in ways that promote useful community dialogues.


Media Business Literacy

As journalists, we understand that context is a vital part of every story. But do you understand the business context of your own job? Do you know how your own company works? This seminar teaches the basics of newspaper/media finance, explaining an operating budget and capital budget, and some of the major dynamics of revenue and expenses at your company. Includes some basics to help you "make the business case” for a new product you’d like to push for such as a page, a section or new online feature.


Covering the New America

We are in the midst of one of the great stories of our lives – a profound change in who makes up our cities; our suburbs; our state, and our country. Once again, the world has come to America. This great wave of immigrants will have long-term implications for our labor force; schools; the types of industries that will spring up; the kinds of stores that will open; how much we will pay in taxes, and who will pay for our Social Security. A session with plenty of facts, figures and a chance to talk about story ideas.


Developing Better Religion Coverage

Faith is everywhere in today’s news. From the Pope to spirituality and pets, faith-related topics frequently make today’s top stories. Authoritative reporting on a variety of issues for a pluralistic audience takes sensitivity and knowledge. Award-winning religion journalists share tips for honing story ideas and locating resources to produce better reporting and to attract a diverse audience. This module is presented in conjunction with the Religion Newswriters Association.




Associated Press Media Editors

APME is a professional network, a resource for helping editors and broadcasters improve their news coverage and newsroom operations.

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