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Posts Tagged ‘newsroom training’

This continues my series on professional networking.

If you don’t think promotion should be part of journalism, I understand. I did little to nothing to promote myself or my work in the first 20-plus years of my career. And I had a good career: rewarding mid-level editor jobs and senior reporting jobs at metro newspapers, top editor of a smaller newspaper.

I can’t think of a single self-promotional thing I did for the first two decades of my career, unless you count some internal boasting in newsroom chit-chat or an occasional humble brag to make sure the boss knew my role in a story.

I didn’t do anything to actually promote myself (that I can recall) until 1997. And I think my career since has benefited greatly from self-promotion, and from overcoming a strong journalistic resistance to promotion.

I decided in 1997 that I wanted to train journalists and get paid for doing so. I thought I had something to teach journalists after all those years of work, and I thought I would like training, and I could use the money. And no one would know that I was available to do training if I didn’t promote myself.

So I developed my first website, promoting my training services and posting workshop handouts online. I was taking a web design class under Father Don Doll at Creighton University, and my website was all about me and my training services.

York News Times logoBut that was early in the history of the web and well before Google, so I also developed an amateurish flier promoting my services (design was never a strong suit of mine). I mailed that flier to newsrooms and press associations around the Midwest and landed three training gigs: with the York News-Times (a Nebraska daily not to be confused with the New York Times), the North Dakota Newspaper Association and the Minot Daily News. Since I was a former Minot editor and well known to the folks at NDNA, those gigs came through a mix of networking and promotion. But I didn’t know anyone at York, and that first training gig came from the amateurish flier. (more…)

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Journalists in Digital First newsrooms in Connecticut will earn bonuses as they master important digital skills.

Matt DeRienzo, Group Editor for Connecticut, announced plans today for Digital Ninja School, a plan to help staff members develop skills in five key digital areas: digital publishing, social media, blogging, video and data.

Newsroom training has been a passion of mine since the mid-1990s, and I am pleased and proud that training plays such a prominent role in Digital First efforts to change our company’s business model, culture and workflow. I first discussed this plan with Matt on a visit to the Register Citizen in Torrington last June. As Matt acknowledged on Twitter today, the “ninja” concept is “super hokey.” But what’s super-important is that the ninja “belts” that journalists earn through the program are backed up by actual cash. A journalist earning all five belts will earn $2,000 in bonuses (to say nothing of the opportunities for advancing to positions that pay more.

In each of the five areas, journalists will complete some core requirements and choose some electives to master through a mix of workshops, webinars and hands-on experience. On the Ninja School blog, journalists will document their training and their use of the skills on the job. To complete additional levels, you need to document that you are still using the skills from previous belts.

Journalists take the initiative in deciding which belts to earn first, and what they need to do to master each skill. Supervisors go over plans with the journalists and provide the time and resources to complete the training. Chris March, Matt and I have compiled an extensive list of training resources.

If you expect journalists to use new skills on the job, you need to provide training to help them master those new skills. Through Digital Ninja School, our journalists in Connecticut have resources, time and incentives to become better digital journalists. I look forward to helping in Ninja School training. I hope and expect that a similar comprehensive training program will be offered before long throughout the company.

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I’ll be leading an #ASNEchat about newsroom training today at 2 p.m. Eastern time, 11 a.m. Pacific.

We’ll discuss a variety of challenges and opportunities in newsroom training during an exciting and volatile time in journalism.

Panelists will be:

Training is a longtime passion of mine. It’s been at least a part-time pursuit since 1997 and it was my full-time job from 2005 to 2008. Many of my blog posts are handouts for my workshops or supplemental resources related to my training. To promote and supplement today’s chat, I have compiled links to my own training resources as well as other links that might be helpful in planning and delivering newsroom training. (more…)

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This is another Training Tracks blog post from the archive of No Train, No Gain, originally published Nov. 11, 2004:

I have long believed that a newspaper’s training program depends more on its commitment and ambition than on its resources. Peter Haggert and Phil Andrews are demonstrating that at the Telegraph-Journal, based in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The Telegraph-Journal has 47 editorial employees and a weekend circulation of about 45,000. It has a training program that many newspapers four or five times as large would envy and should emulate. (more…)

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This is another blog post from the archives of No Train, No Gain, originally posted Jan. 14, 2005.

I presented a workshop this week that illustrates some lessons I have learned about how participation can be more important than content in training.

From the first, the content was strong in my workshop on generating story ideas. It was one of the first handouts I developed. I frequently got good feedback when I gave the handout to a reporter I was coaching individually or when I discussed the techniques in the handout with individual reporters. I had examples for each of the techniques discussed in the handout, too. Some were my own stories, some were stories from reporters I have worked with through the years.

I also recognized that content wasn’t enough, that I needed to involve the audience in the workshop. But my initial efforts at stimulating participation were pretty weak and I was disappointed in my first couple attempts at this workshop. (more…)

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