Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Discovery of the week.

I was looking through the Politifact website, and found a link to Poynter News University.

Poynter is dedicated to increasing journalistic excellence.  It was created by the people responsible for running the St. Petersburg Times, the best newspaper in the country.  When Nelson Poynter died, he founded the Modern Media Institute, and this organization controls the newspaper to this day.  The result is one of the only truly independent media outlets in the country.

The Poynter mission statement runs as follows:
The Poynter Institute is a school dedicated to teaching and inspiring journalists and media leaders. It promotes excellence and integrity in the practice of craft and in the practical leadership of successful businesses. It stands for a journalism that informs citizens and enlightens public discourse. It carries forward Nelson Poynter’s belief in the value of independent journalism in the public interest.
I can't take courses at their campus -- although, if I went, I would have a place to stay, as my mom still lives in St. Pete -- but that is not all they offer.

They have an extensive library of low-cost (or in some cases free) self-directed courses and webinars.  These are mainly aimed at professional journalists, but they also have courses directed at new media journalists such as bloggers.  If nothing else, they have classes on writing and learning to revise your own work, which I know will be invaluable.

I took a look at one free class called "50 Tools for Writers."  According to the description, it should take 1-2 hours.Yeah, right.  It takes that amount of time if you simply read the materials, but if you take the course seriously and do the exercises at the end of each chapter, it should take closer to twenty to twenty five.

With most classes in anything, the real learning comes in applying what you know.  I am hoping taking some of these classes will allow me to improve my writing.

I am not a journalist, nor am I likely to become one. I would love to make writing a career, though, and maybe this might be a first step to doing that. 

Maybe I'll overcome my lack of self-confidence and actually finish my book.  That would be nice.  In the meantime, maybe you guys will reap the benefits of any newly found skills.

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