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NewTrain enters another decade of reinforcing the newspaper industry

Friday, November 8, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Laura Sellers-Earl
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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.

"Some cases 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.”

APME Foundation 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.

Roberts has 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.

NewsTrain is 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.”

Unlike the early days, Dennison said NewsTrain workshops have sold out the past few years. Each of the four annual workshops gets well over 100 attendees.

"How many 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 interested in.”

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.”

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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