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Fresno NewsTrain
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Train in data, video, social, mobile, podcasting, analytics and verification at Fresno NewsTrain on March 27-28, 2020


The Particulars

When: 1 to 5:55 p.m. Friday, March 27, and 8:30 a.m. to 5:10 p.m. Saturday, March 28, 2020

Where: Department of Media, Communications and Journalism, McKee Fisk Building, 2225 E. San Ramon Ave., California State University, Fresno. Here is a campus map.

Cost: Early-bird registration is just $75. The early-bird rate ends Feb. 27, with registration increasing to $85 on Feb. 28.

Meals: Your registration includes a light breakfast and lunch on Saturday. 

Is this workshop for you? This workshop is for reporters, editors and other journalists from print, digital and broadcast newsrooms of all sizes, as well as journalism educators and students. Public information officers and public relations specialists have also benefited from attending NewsTrain. You do not have to be a member of APME to attend.

Diversity scholarships: The deadline to apply for a competitive diversity scholarship for Fresno NewsTrain is Feb. 13. Applications are open to journalists, journalism educators or journalism students from a diverse background, Successful applicants have their registration fee waived; they must pay their own travel expenses. Apply online; also, email a current résumé and up to three work samples (published or unpublished) to Tim Drachlis, Tatarian Journalism Chair at Fresno State. Journalism educators need not submit work samples.

Travel scholarships for Chips Quinn Scholars alumni: The Freedom Forum Institute offers travel scholarships to Chips Quinn Scholars alumni who are working as journalists or teaching journalism full-time and who are interested in attending NewsTrain. The scholarship will cover up to $1,000 for travel expenses. Interested alums, who are asked to submit a piece about their workshop experience for the Chips Quinn Scholars website, should email Karen Catone, director of the Chips Quinn Scholars Program. They should also apply for a diversity scholarship to cover registration, funded by the APME Foundation, here.

Registration for groups: Email Laura Sellers-Earl, NewsTrain project co-director.

What to bring: A fully charged laptop and smartphone for the exercises.

Ground transportation at Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT): Please see the airport's website.

Local donors: California State University, Fresno

Sponsor: Associated Press Media Editors (APME) Foundation. Please see the complete list of donors who support NewsTrain at the bottom of this page.

Hosts: Representatives from the following local organizations are serving on the host committee for Fresno NewsTrain: California State University, Fresno; The Associated Press; The Fresno Bee; California News Publishers Association; The Tribune of San Luis Obispo; Valley Public Television; Valley Public Radio; Vida en el Valle; The Modesto Bee; GV Wire; KMJ Radio; Fresno City College; Fresno Business Journal; KMPH; California Polytechnic State University; Visalia Times-DeltaFresno Christian High School; San Joaquin Delta College; Bakersfield College; California State University, Bakersfield; Univision; ABC30; College of the Sequoias; California State University, Stanislaus. 

Questions: Email  Laura Sellers-Earl, NewsTrain project co-director.

Join us for 1.5 days of affordable digital training at Fresno NewsTrain on March 27-28, 2020, at California State University, Fresno.

Training Sessions Include:

  • So, you think you have an idea for a podcast?
  • Using social media as powerful reporting tools,
  • Storytelling on small screens: making smart choices for mobile audiences,
  • Becoming a verification ninja,
  • Shooting smarter video with your smartphone,
  • Mobile newsgathering: better reporting with your smartphone
  • Developing a data mindset to improve stories every day, and
  • Maximizing audience analytics to produce better journalism.

Early-bird registration is $75 through Feb. 27; the rate increases to $85 on Feb. 28.

For Fresno NewsTrain, competitive diversity scholarships are available for journalists, journalism students and journalism educators from diverse backgrounds; please see the information to the right for how to apply by Feb. 13.

Your Trainers

Stay tuned please. We will be announcing soon the accomplished journalists who will be your trainers for Fresno NewsTrain.

You Will Learn How To:

  • Identify a good idea for a podcast and develop that idea into a pitch.
  • Use social media to locate diverse expert and “real people” sources, listen to your community and identify news stories, crowdsource using Google Forms and call-outs, and create a social dossier on a person in the news.
  • Make smart choices among alternative ways to tell a story on mobile to get the maximum audience impact with the least expenditure of time, energy and effort.
  • Verify user-generated images and other content on social media on deadline,
  • Follow a storyboard to shoot and sequence your best five shots to create a one-minute video,
  • Use your smartphone to shoot a well-composed, well-lit and in-focus photo that captures a moment and tells a story; capture high-quality audio; and record dictation that can be translated into text. 
  • Identify five ways to find relevant databases and formulate questions to identify stories in the data. Leave with at least one story idea using data that you can do now.
  • Use audience analytics to create compelling journalism.




The blue and green tracks on the agenda allow for smaller class sizes. All attendees receive the same instruction, sometimes just at different times.



Session Specifics


So, you think you have an idea for a podcast? Podcasts open the door to telling new stories and reaching new audiences — if you do them well. But what are the conversations that need to happen before going forward, and what’s the balance between innovative podcast storytelling and the investment needed in time, expertise and money. This session identifies the kinds of ideas that make for the best podcasts and establishes the minimum requirements for success. What are the table stakes – besides a good idea – to get into the game?  Bring an idea that you think would make a good podcast and prepare to develop it into a pitch.


Using social media as powerful reporting tools Social media can be used as powerful reporting tools, whether you're facing a big breaking news story or an enterprise project. This session explains how to use social media platforms and complementary websites to locate diverse expert and “real people” sources, listen to your community and identify news stories, crowdsource using Google Forms and callouts, and create a social dossier on a person in the news.


Storytelling on small screens: making smart choices for mobile audiences More than eight in 10 U.S. adults now get news on a mobile device. We need a new storytelling tool kit to attract and better serve our audience on mobile. On a small screen, what’s the best way to tell a particular story: digest, explainer, bulleted live updates or what-we-know lists, photo, video, graphic, audio, games, curation, or some combination? And what are the tools to make that happen as efficiently as possible? How is writing for mobile scanners different? The good news is that mobile-storytelling techniques also translate well to other digital platforms, and some text-based strategies also work in print.


Becoming a verification ninja The wealth of content available on social networks and video platforms means that we all have to be verification ninjas with a procedure to identify accurate content and debunk hoaxes. Learn how to set up your toolbox to verify user-generated content (UCG) on deadline.  


Shooting smarter video on your smartphone Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism studied what makes for successful news video and recommended that reporters shoot fast, raw clips posted instantly from the field, leaving in-depth, more sophisticated video stories to highly trained video journalists. This session teaches reporters how to produce those clips of under one minute with minimal editing. Learn how to use a tripod and external microphone and sequence your best five shots to create shareable video – without getting in the way of your reporting. Bring your smartphone for the exercises. 


Mobile newsgathering: better reporting with your smartphone A smartphone, stocked with the right apps, is a powerful multimedia reporting tool. Learn how to use it to shoot photos, record interviews and other audio, and dictate stories. Bring your smartphone for the exercises. 


Developing a data mindset to improve stories every day For providing context for breaking news or developing enterprise stories off your beat, databases are your friend. Learn how to develop a data state of mind, find newsworthy data and begin to analyze data sets. Spot the enterprise stories in the numbers, whether your beat is breaking news, sports, health, business, education, local government or cops and courts. Bring your laptop for the exercises. No previous data experience is required.


Maximizing audience analytics to produce better journalism Audience analytics provide a powerful tool to track audience engagement, but the amount of data and its interpretation can be overwhelming. It’s time to move beyond pageviews. What are the best practices to move occasional users to regular users and, for some outlets, into either paying subscribers or members? By focusing on audience behavior, how can we best use analytics to create compelling content? 

Our Donors

NewsTrain's recent donors include The Associated PressThe APME Foundation, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, GateHouse Media LLC, the Park, Gannett and Sigma Delta Chi foundations and APME past and present board members. To join them in supporting NewsTrain, please make your tax-deductible contribution here

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