Membership in an exclusive organization has its privileges. North Carolina Press Association now offers a new privilege — free, self-paced online training for journalists at member newspapers.
Today’s publishers have a tough time hiring experienced journalists for their newsrooms — particularly those in smaller markets. The result: rookie employees with no formal training or professional experience struggle to learn on the job with minimal guidance. Now there’s free help available to ease that learning curve.
NCPA has contracted with Kansas Publishing Ventures (KPV) to provide NCPA members access to an online training course entitled “Earn Your Press Pass.” The course is designed to help prospective and rookie reporters who have solid reading and writing skills by teaching them solid journalistic skills.
“The labor shortage is real, and finding former journalists or recent journalism school graduates to move to smaller communities is nearly impossible,” KPV majority owner Joey Young said. “The purpose of the course is to give the basics to a solid candidate who just needs a little bit of training to make a good reporter.”
NCPA Executive Director Phil Lucey said the program is a great fit for our members and I am excited to offer this new FREE service to all members. Funding is made possible by a grant from the NC Press Foundation.
Lindsey Young, co-owner of KPV and a practicing journalist, teaches the course. A former high school journalism and public speaking teacher, she has been immersed in community newspapering since Joey and Lindsey purchased their first community newspaper, The Clarion, in 2014.
“I wanted to create something that feels more like a conversation with a well-informed friend than a traditional class,” Lindsey said. “There aren’t any homework assignments or quizzes. Instead, the ‘test’ for Earn Your Press Pass users will be becoming a part of their community newspaper and writing about local issues.”
As someone who has both a teaching background and practical real-world newspaper experience, Lindsey is able to teach the basics to a new or potential hire so an overworked editor can focus on other tasks.
“We needed a on-demand solution,” Joey said. “So we came up with what we would want a new hire to know, and Lindsey started working on the curriculum.”
Lindsey teaches simple interviewing steps to make new reporters more successful. Additionally, the course outlines basics like newspaper jargon, editing and basic photography.
“My hope is that people who go through the course will come out the other side with all the fundamentals and a list of questions for their editor or publisher so they can have meaningful, well-informed discussions about expectations and the nuances of their own community,” Lindsey said.
Joey said newspapers are increasingly relying on new hires who "are naturally curious and have decent writing ability,” but have no training or journalism experience. The solution, he said, is to “train them up."
"We need bodies who can go to these things, cover it, and feel competent. That’s what Lindsey set out to do…to help people feel a little more confident.”
“We just want people to use it,” Joey said. "I really believe this is something to bridge the gap for papers that struggle to recruit."
The training syllabus first became available to all members of the Kansas Press Association in September.
NCPA members interested in the training may request access through an email to Phil Lucey at email@example.com or Katie Mozingo at firstname.lastname@example.org