Journalism Education

Tips for educators and students.

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Why I always play music during writing workshops

Roy Peter Clark plays the accordion

The most fun I have as a teacher is when I can incorporate music into writing instruction. (Photo by Armondo Solares)

I was 46 years old, and my life and time were filled by three pursuits: teaching writing, coaching girls soccer and playing in a rock band. My imagination was born, or reborn, that year in 1994.

I saw them as discrete activities. For each I wore a separate uniform, spoke a distinctive dialect and derived a different reward. It felt like a rich and satisfying life, and it was.

I would soon learn there was something more.

I was at work on the book “Coaching Writers” with Don Fry. That word “coaching” made me wonder whether there was something I was learning from coaching my daughters’ soccer teams that I could apply to the coaching of writers. Read more

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Friday, May 08, 2015

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5 questions for a (formerly) pissed off journalism student

Polo Rocha

Polo Rocha

In a column yesterday for The Badger Herald student newspaper, University of Wisconsin-Madison senior Polo Rocha began with a confession.

“I started reporting this column as a pissed off journalism student,” Rocha wrote. “It’s not that I’m ungrateful for the wonderful classes and professors I’ve had at University of Wisconsin’s journalism school. It’s that my experience there lacked something.”

What should students expect from their journalism school experience nowadays? And how much and how fast should journalism educators adapt to keep up with a media landscape which Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour recently called “the Wild West.”

As Wintour shared in a New York Magazine interview, “You walk on the street and get a Starbucks and things have changed by the time you come back to the office.”

Or the classroom. Read more

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Friday, May 01, 2015

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Why “Louie, Louie” should be an anthem for journalists

The song I have sung most often in my life is “Louie, Louie.”

I don’t know the words. Really.

There are two sets of lyrics – maybe three.

The original lyrics, written and performed by Richard Berry in 1955, describe a sweet island romance.

In 1963, The Kingsmen covered the song.  The lead singer, Jack Ely, slurred the words.  The production values sucked.  Because of those things, “Louie, Louie” became one of the greatest rock songs of all time.

Oh, by the way, we are writing this in part because Ely just died at the age of 71.

By 1964, rumors spread through my high school: The lyrics of “Louie, Louie” were filthy.

“I promise I’ll never leave her again,” a sailor’s lament, became “I promise I’ll never lay her again.”  Which made no sense.  Read more

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Monday, Apr. 27, 2015

Social media provides op-ed writers opportunities and challenges

Tony Messenger, left, listens to John Harwood talk about using social media to connect with his readers.

Tony Messenger, left, listens to John Harwood talk about using social media to connect with his readers.

Social media provides professional opinion writers and editors with new opportunities and huge challenges.

John Harwood, chief Washington Correspondent for CNBC, told a roomful of op-ed writers and editors that they have the opportunity to convert a burden to a benefit Sunday night in Washington D.C. at the joint event with the Association of Opinion Journalists and the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

Like much of his audience, Harwood was in newspapers first and still writes a regular column for the New York Times in addition to his television work. He told of a key event in his use of the even-more-immediate forms of social media:

“The whole phenomenon of journalism by social media seemed vain and stupid,” he said. Read more

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Friday, Apr. 10, 2015

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Knight Foundation reinvests in News University

Vicki Krueger is the Director of Interactive Learning and has been managing News University for 3 years and has been with the project for 10 years.

newsU-300Ten years ago, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation made an investment in e-learning at Poynter. Since then, News University has grown to more than 325,000 users in 200 countries and territories around the world, 400 courses, and training in seven languages. About 2,000 people a week enroll in e-learning modules at NewsU. It has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.

Now, in honor of NewsU’s 10th birthday, Knight is making a new investment of $195,000 in the leading online training site for journalists, educators and anyone interested in the craft and values of journalism. Knight funding will support the first phase of the most ambitious rethinking and retooling of Poynter NewsU since it was launched in April 2005. Read more

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Thursday, Apr. 09, 2015

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Fall back in love with journalism with these 8 NewsU courses

Friday, April 10 is the 10th anniversary of Poynter’s News University. In addition to other celebrations going on around Poynter, we’ve pulled together a series of lists from NewsU’s work from the past 10 years.

Maybe it was the budget that has shrunk so small it puts Cinderella’s waist to shame. Maybe it is the stampede of editors running over your neat narrative. Maybe it’s the endless beeping of the newsroom’s broken fire alarm. Something made you fall out of love with journalism, the profession you must have loved at one time. NewsU teaches skills and processes, but it can also provide inspiration. No matter what made you fall out of love with journalism, here are some courses that will make you want to buy journalism flowers and take it out to dinner again. Read more

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Wednesday, Apr. 08, 2015

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NewsU by the numbers (there are a lot of ewes)

Friday, April 10 is the 10th birthday of Poynter News University. In addition to other celebrations going on around Poynter, we’ve pulled together a series of lists from NewsU’s teaching and teachers the past 10 years.

In its first 10 years, NewsU has accumulated a lot of stuff: courses, users, even sheep. Here are 10 numbers that tell the story of NewsU.

1. 2 giant whiteboards

At NewsU, our best organization system is our whiteboards. Whether it’s writing down our wish list for Webinars, organizing courses or keeping track of our schedule, using the whiteboards lets us keep a quick, up to date plan that everyone can see. Or we can use it for other important things, like doodling or writing down quotes from coaches in honor of March Madness. Read more

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Tuesday, Apr. 07, 2015

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Here are 4 NewsU Webinars that didn’t age well

Friday, April 10 is the 10th anniversary of Poynter’s News University. In addition to other celebrations going on around Poynter, we’ve pulled together a series of lists from NewsU’s work from the past 10 years.

You have to give it to them. After 400 years of printing press hegemony, news organizations have scrambled to keep up with changes in technology. And News University has been there with them, with courses about coding languages, new social media networks and more.

But technology changes fast. We frequently need to add new courses and cull the ones that have lost relevancy. Here are fun lessons of yesteryear from four Webinars that might as well be from the Stone Age (and long unpublished from our site) and four you should try instead. Read more

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Friday, Apr. 03, 2015

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In the last 10 years, NewsU’s most popular courses have been about the fundamentals

Friday, April 10 is the 10th anniversary of Poynter’s News University. In addition to other celebrations going on around Poynter, we’ve pulled together a series of lists from NewsU’s work from the past 10 years.

In the last 10 years, we’ve developed more than 400 journalism courses at NewsU. That’s an ambitious training catalog of Webinars, online seminars and self-directed courses.

Since our core audience is journalists, teachers and students, our courses cover key journalism skills in the digital age: from digital tools to video fundamentals, social media strategies and search engine optimization.
All timely and essential topics, we agree. But the most popular courses, the ones with the most people enrolled, focus on the fundamentals.

Before we start the official top 10, I’d like include a couple of honorable mentions. Read more

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Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015

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Here are 10 Webinar presenters from NewsU’s last 10 years

Friday, April 10 is the 10th birthday of Poynter News University. In addition to other celebrations going on around Poynter, we’ve pulled together a series of lists from NewsU’s teaching and teachers the past 10 years.

Webinars showcase industry leaders and media experts across a wide range of topics, themes and techniques at Poynter News University. Here are 10 from the first 10 years, taken from our library of more than 250 Webinars and Webinar presenters.

Mark S. Luckie: You are What You Tweet: How to Engage with Your Readers on Twitter
Luckie, the creative content manager for journalism at Twitter, is a multi-platform journalist and editor, founder of the digital journalism blog 10,000 Words, and author of The Digital Journalist’s Handbook. He brings a big smile and big ideas when he teaches. Read more

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