By Deb Shaw, For the SNA Foundation
Another free e-learning course has just been released by the Suburban Newspapers of America Foundation in conjunction with the Poynter Institute’s NewsUniversity. The e-course, The Community Journalism Series, has two parts – one intended for newsroom leaders to help them develop and manage a UGC program, and one intended for amateur contributors to teach them the fundamentals of contributing to the local media house.
Citizen journalism, user-generated content, pro-amateur journalism, crowd sourcing, blogging, conversational media, participatory journalism, consumer-created content – whatever you call it, using readers, viewers or listeners as a source for content – whether informally via comments or in fully structured relationships – is happening in all forms of media.
Throughout history, the news media has generally enjoyed being an authoritarian voice. However, readers know of – and have access to – stories and perspectives that journalists may not. Providing a platform by which everyday citizens can help tell those stories can broaden your market reach and build your credibility within the community. And, as we’re learning from innovative leaders like Clark Gilbert at Deseret Media, contributor content can be a building block to a new and sustainable business model for local newspapers.
Now, thanks to a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, newsroom leaders can quickly accelerate the development of a UGC program locally by accessing The Community Journalism Series
, the brand new SNA Foundation-sponsored e-learning course.
The Community Journalism Series
e-course is professionally produced by Poynter Institute’s NewsUniversity and is intended for editors and managers, especially those at community publications. It is also helpful for anyone looking for new ways to engage audiences -- online and in print.
Self-paced and free of charge, the course is broken into two parts. In Strategies for Managing Local Contributors
, intended for newsroom professionals, participants will learn how to:
- Identify which kinds of community contributions might work best in their news organization
- Devise a specific plan for introducing community content onto their site
- Develop a plan to recruit and train contributors that includes directing them to the contributor track of this course.
The companion module, Contributing to A Local Publication
, is intended for anyone interested in contributing content to a local publication as well as for freelancers looking to sharpen their skills or make themselves more marketable. It is also intended for editors, especially those at community publications, who are interested in using this course as a training ground for local contributors. Deb Shaw, editor for SNA’s Suburban Publisher
newsletter, says “think of this module as a Journalism 101 course for local contributors.”
After completing this module, participants will be able to:
- Identify the basics of effective writing, editing, interviewing, multimedia production
- Describe the editorial process and ethical decisions that journalists make
- Pinpoint the ingredients for success in reporting and writing
Each module of this course takes about 2 hours to complete. However, most participants will likely take advantage of the self paced aspect that enables them to work at their own rate. Participants can run the course from beginning to end or access the topics in any order, stopping and starting at their convenience. Once registered, participants can come back time and time again. And, if experience with the SNAF’s prior e-courses
is any indication, many media house leaders will use this course as an important training mechanism in their multimedia tool belt.
ABOUT THE SNA FOUNDATION:
The SNA Foundation is affiliated with Suburban Newspapers of America (www.suburban-news.org
), the largest suburban and community newspaper trade association in North America, representing nearly 2,400 newspapers in the US and Canada. The SNA Foundation is the only organization of its kind that focuses exclusively on suburban and community newspapers and supports their role as the leading local information providers, now and in the future. The SNA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable trust and all donations are tax deductible.
ABOUT THE POYNTER INSTITUTE:
Founded in 1975 in St. Petersburg, Fla., The Poynter Institute (www.poynter.org
) is one of the nation’s top schools for professional journalists, future journalists and journalism teachers. Poynter’s News University (www.newsu.org
) offers newsroom training to journalists and journalism students through interactive e-learning modules and links to other journalism education and training opportunities.