April 3, 2015

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. These two have cracked our list for 2015:
Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Publishers : Here are key guidelines on copyright, defamation and privacy for anyone who publishes content online.

Language Primer: Basics of Grammar, Punctuation and Word Use : If you’re a teacher or student in a journalism program, you probably know about this course. It’s used in schools from New York to California. For the rest of us, it’s a good refresher on the fundamentals of the English language.

Here’s our countdown to NewsU’s Top 10 courses over the first 10 years.

10. Ethics of Journalism : Here’s your guide to developing a process for making ethical decisions — before you’re faced with a tough call on deadline. And it will give you the confidence to make tough calls and defend your decisions to your editors, your colleagues and your audience.

9. Handling Race and Ethnicity: You’ll examine whether and how to use racial and ethnic descriptions in news stories. This course has one of my favorite interactive moments in which you can explore your own assumptions about race and ethnicity.

8. Get Me Rewrite: The Craft of Revision: It’s tempting to just write and submit or post or tweet, but by taking a little time to look over your work and bolster your words, you will end up with much better and stronger writing. This course is one of three in the top 10 by Chip Scanlan, an affiliate faculty member of The Poynter Institute and longtime NewsU “journalism adviser.”

7. The Writer’s Workbench: 50 Tools You Can Use: Roy Peter Clark, vice president, senior scholar and reporting, writing and editing faculty at The Poynter Institute, shares with you the list of writing tools he has compiled from reporters and editors, from authors of books on writing and from teachers and coaches.

6. Language of the Image: Just like stories, there are reasons that some photos are successful and others fall short. This course will help you develop a visual vocabulary, leading to improved photographs and more constructive conversations of images.

5. The Lead Lab: The lead of a story makes a promise to the reader of good things to come. Do you deliver on that promise every time you write a lead? Have you ever wondered how to craft better leads? This course by Chip Scanlan is here to help.

4. News Sense: The Building Blocks of News: What makes an idea or event a news story? This course, developed by Mary Ann Hogan, a teacher and former writing coach, explores the who, what, when, where, why and how of news. News Sense is also in Persian and Russian.

3. The Interview: With the aid of a virtual coach and a typical encounter with a source, you’ll have the chance to see firsthand how the kinds of questions you pose can stop or start an effective interview. This is the third course by Chip Scanlan.

2. The Be a Reporter Game: Eric Newton, senior adviser to the president at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is the originator of the “Be a Reporter” game. He conceived, wrote and edited the game’s journalism elements while at the Newseum, and made it possible for this interactive game and the teacher’s guide that accompanies it to be available at NewsU. Who doesn’t love a good story about toxic cheese?

1. Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More: When Casey Frechette and I developed “Cleaning Your Copy,” I never thought this course on the basics of grammar and AP style would stay at the top of the NewsU charts. It speaks to the power of the fundamentals. Thanks to the more than 57,000 who have taken this course. And yes, we promise you that an updated non-Flash version is coming soon. Watch your email for the announcement.

Related: NewsU was funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Coming up, there are two ways you can join the NewsU birthday celebration. Share a story about how NewsU e-learning has transformed your journalism, and come to NewsU’s birthday Webinar on April 10, featuring some of the best lessons, tips, tricks, hacks and bits of knowledge from 10 years of e-learning.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current…
Vicki Krueger

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