Poynter's NewsU hits 100 mark

Taken by Flickr user, Global X

A digital toolkit

June 16th marked the 100th Training Tip of the Day for Poynter’s News University, an e-learning project. Using content from more than 150 online courses, NewsU sends daily tips via Twitter to people who want to learn journalism tools.

The daily tip project is part of a larger mission at NewsU, says NewsU Director Howard Finberg, to make training accessible to anyone. With webinars like Tools for Mobile Journalists and training packages like Telling Memorable Video Stories: A Poynter Tutorial Series, and funded by the Knight Foundation, the website offers a mixture of free and paid content.

“We never require a journalism membership to get into NewsU,” said Finberg. “We’ve found two groups of people, those interested in improving skills that journalists have, and those who are educators. We have the opportunity to influence people new to the profession.”

In other words, NewsU educates anyone and everyone how to be a journalist, such as this 52-year-old woman with a career in trucking:

According to Eunice Miller,
Union Leader Manchester NH:

Let’s see, let’s begin with the facts. I am a 52 year old female who has owned and operated “Big Rigs” trucks for 27 years. Due to injuries in the work place, I was at home, sad and wanting more from this life. I now have.
A friend’s mom sent me newspaper clipping stating that the local paper here in NH was to run free classes on photojournalism and news writing and for me to SIGN UP! This was such a new avenue for me to take–scary and exciting actually.

I never thought of the news, the way I do now that I have taken these two classes. We were instructed by our teacher/newspaper reporter, Meg Heckman, to sign-up for your [NewsU] online teachings. It was great to learn all that goes into a great news story. Getting the facts and then going back and getting more. This course and Meg have changed this injured tractor trailer driver. I see myself writing a book and just knowing how to gather information and facts will be a great help. Thanks for all you do to teach us who want to learn.

Finberg cited the non-linear training style (ability to hop in and out of sessions) and affordability as important variables in NewsU’s rise in membership. Since its beginnings in April 2005, membership has risen to almost 150,000 registered users in more than 200 countries.

With 15 percent registered outside North America, NewsU is seeking expansion. Finberg said NewsU International will launch in two languages (Persian and Russian) within the next few months. “We are not talking about translation, but transforming and localizing,” he said.

In addition, future programs will focus on media literacy, news values and the difference between news and propaganda. “These issues have lots of importance in terms of citizenry,” Finberg said.

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06 2010

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