Welcome to Journalism Bootcamp!
You are about to embark on the basics of how to be a good, accurate, fair journalist. You may be just out of high school or college or you may be redirecting your career path at any age. Journalism is a wonderful, rewarding and important job. You are the eyes and ears of the public, the watchdog of government and the teller of interesting, fun stories.
My career in journalism began in 1978 as News Director of WUPY radio in Michigan, took a break while I worked “the dark side” of a press office in the House of Representatives, and then resumed in 1991 at the Ukiah Daily Journal where have spent 25 years reporting and then editing and then managing. I have hired and trained many many young journalists who came to me with an ability to write and a desire to tell stories.
When people ask me what it takes to be a good journalist, I tell them: Curiosity about your community, good writing skills, and the ability to go out into the world and ask questions. In my job as managing editor of my small town newspaper I believe our newsroom is literally writing the history of our town one day at a time.
Journalism is that critical. So it’s really important to get it right.
This course will improve your writing, it will not teach you how to write. But it will teach you how to report and how to shape news and feature stories quickly and accurately. It will give you basic skills that any editor you are hoping to impress will recognize.
If you are a student writing for a college or high school newspaper, I can help you improve your stories so that your clips will be strong as you head into your next job interview.
If you have journalism in mind as a career or even just want to try it, I will provide the basics that will allow a hiring editor to see that he or she will not have to spend a lot of time training you.
If you are a community blogger and want to build your audience, I can help you cover your community professionally so that your readership will see the authenticity of your work.
In Bootcamp’s 10 lessons you will write, and write and write, and get personal feedback from an editor who has won numerous awards for her own writing and that of her reporters.
So let’s get started.
Just some of what you’ll learn:
• Associated Press style, and how to do rewrites of press releases like a pro.
• The art of interviewing: whether you’re at the scene of a fire or crime, or trying to get that compelling human interest story.
• How to read and decode an agenda from a government agency and know which items will be important to readers.
• How to cover local government meetings. Who gets the quotes and how to make sure they’re accurate.
• How to read a government budget and let your readers know what your city or county or state is spending its money on.
• Working with law enforcement. They have rules you need to know.
• The best way to handle corrections. We all make mistakes and we must be honest about them.
• How to find stories. It’s not all just going to meetings and waiting for press releases to arrive.
With these skills you will be able to compete with experienced reporters for jobs that can start you on your journalism career. You can also become an accurate and informed go-to blogger in your community or start your own local news web site.
At Journalism Bootcamp your privacy is important to us. All we ever need from you is an email address through which you will take our courses. We will never ask you for a credit card number or any personal information. Our transactions are handled through PayPal so your information stays with you. Your final completion certificate can be mailed to any address you give us or we can email a pdf version to you. All we are interested in is your desire to be a good journalist and helping you achieve your goals in this fulfilling career.