Upcoming Journalism Training

By Martha Spizziri
ASBPE Web Editor

It’s right around the corner, but there’s still time to register for Media Bistro’s online course Reinventing Print Content for the Web. The class, which starts Monday, June 2, is aimed specifically at magazine writers and editors. You may be able to register even after the official start date; you’ll have access to all lectures and transcripts of any class chats you might miss by signing up late. According to the Media Bistro web site, taking the course will teach you:

  • what skills you need succeed as a writer or editor for a magazine Web site.
  • where the role of editor ends and that of Web producer begins.
  • pitfalls to avoid in reworking content for the Web.
  • which new Web technologies are essential and how to develop them.
  • when, how, and why to incorporate user-generated content and how to encourage it.
  • how to identify, evaluate, and manage potential content partnerships.

A similar Media Bistro class is Writing and Editing for the Web, starting June 10. This course covers a diverse range of material, including how to:

  • write great copy for the Web (and why Web writing is different from writing for print).
  • use Web technology to tell a story.
  • avoid common mistakes.
  • find reliable information online.
  • use bulletin boards and online communities to find story sources and subjects.
  • the pros and cons of blogging, and whether you should do it.
  • selling yourself and your work on the Web.

And if you’re in the New York City area, don’t miss the June 6 ASBPE New York chapter panel discussion Make Your Job Indispensable: Tales from Four “Survivors.” This event aims to help you develop the multitasking skills you need to keep working as a B2B editor, writer, or freelancer. You’ll learn how:

  • B2B editors are managing print, web news, e-newsletters, live events, webinars, and other products.
  • enterprising freelance editors and writers are enhancing their multimedia skills and nabbing opportunities to do online slide shows, podcasts, video, blogs, and more.
  • editors can manage their time more efficiently and balance priorities using quantitative analysis techniques.
  • publishers can develop in-house training programs to provide both staffers and freelancers with the expertise they need.

RSVP deadline is May 30.

Journalistic Skills

The Poynter Institute‘s NewsU offers Introduction to Ethical Decision-Making, a free on-demand web course that teaches processes and principles you can use to analyze difficult ethical questions you may face as a journalist. A library of case studies and other resources are also available.

Media Bistro’s online Interviewing Skills course starts June 3. The class promises to teach journalists conducting story interviews how to:

  • ask succinct questions.
  • ask the right question at the right time.
  • get compelling sound bites.
  • relax and let the interview flow.
  • handle difficult interviewees.
  • land a hard-to-get interview.

Beyond the Inverted Pyramid: Creating Alternative Story Forms is a free on-demand class offered by NewsU that introduces students to nontraditional, more accessible storytelling styles. This line from the course description particularly caught my eye: “You’ll learn to break down information by theme and organize stories to make them snappy and more useful to time-crunched readers [my italics].” B2B editors have been dealing with readers who have no time to read at least since I started my career, long before the advent of the Internet.

Another free on-demand NewsU program, Math for Journalists, consists of six 30-minute modules. The course covers material ranging from math essentials (reducing fractions, for instance) to topics specifically for journalists (calculating costs of living, estimating crowd sizes). NewsU also provides supplementary learning tools, including quizzes, games, and interactive charts and tables.

Finally, NewsU offers two ways to learn about headline writing: Writing Better Print Headlines, a four-week online class next offered on Sept. 8, and Writing Headlines for the Web, a replay of a 2007 webinar that you can access at your leisure.

Copy Editing and Grammar

Media Bistro has a trio of online copy editing courses coming up. In chronological order, they are:

Advanced Copy Editing, starting Sunday, June 1, teaches the finer points of grammar, how to create an in-house style guide, dealing with office politics, and how to know when you’ve overstepped the bounds with a piece of copy, among other topics.

Intro to Copy Editing starts June 2 and covers common copy editing marks and proofreading symbols, reference materials, preparing for copy-editing tests, and more.

Intermediate Copy Editing starts June 17 and deals with topics such as the relative merits of the popular style guides, how to recast sentences, and the role and responsibilities of the copy editor.

For a general refresher on grammar issues, you might sign up for Grammar, Punctuation, and Meaning, a four-week web course that starts June 23. Or try out the free self-directed on-demand program Cleaning Your Copy from NewsU.

For Freelancers

The Whole Freelancer, starting June 12, is a multiweek online course for those considering a full-time freelance career. It will cover basic skills such as effectively pitching ideas, managing your career, and building relationships with editors.

Advanced Freelancing starts June 18. It’s designed for writers who’ve already had articles published and will cover strategies for selling more articles, getting more money for the articles you write, expanding your stable of publishing venues, breaking into new subject areas, renegotiating when necessary, and other skills.

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