Thursday, April 07, 2005

Journalism training

Proving again that commerce will fill in where there's a vacuum comes WorkingJournalist.com.

A slew of training efforts have emerged since the 2003 Knight Foundation report detailing the sad state of journalism training in newsrooms. (For a good rundown on various efforts, see Steve Buttry's column at notrain-nogain.org.) But there's more to be done, and so WorkingJournalist has emerged.

It's a product of Infocom Group, which if you look at its Web site seems to have the primary mission of making money by selling PR professionals tips on how to pitch stories to reporters. Of course, it appears the journalists are playing right along with the game. One of its newest products is a panel of op-ed editors from some of the nation's leading papers telling you how to pitch them -- for a mere $279 per audio conference site. One wonders how much these helpful editors from some of the major papers (NY Post, Boston Globe, Christian Sc ience Monitor, Philadelphia Inquirer) are getting paid in the process.

So Infocom Group has developed Working Journalist, where Editor Brian Pittman tells us:

WorkingJournalist.com is a new resource to help professional journalists improve their skills, their compensation and their career satisfaction.

Research shows that working journalists lack a source of practical, affordable continuing education — information that can help journalists move up, earn more and gain greater control of their careers. Journalists also lack a source of news and analysis about the profession as a profession, about the best and brightest in the field, and about how every journalist can exploit his or her talent to the fullest.

In April, 2005, WorkingJournalist.com launches a new series of ten audio conferences on writing and reporting, career development, and newsroom management. We intend these “masters classes” to be just the beginning of an extensive curriculum of practical, cost-effective continuing education options for working journalists.

I look forward to “seeing” you and your newsroom colleagues soon at one of our upcoming teleconference events. Please check out our Spring 2005 Audio Conference schedule right now.

And so for a mere $129 a pop (I assume the lesser price is a nod toward the pay scales of most journalists) you can learn from some of the business's leading lights how to improve. The only audio conference for which there are details right now is how to write "edit-proof copy" with Chip Scanlan of Poynter, Bob Baker of Newsthinking, and others.

But what the hey ... everyone's gotta make a buck, right?

Consider this impolitic of me, but the ones who have to watch their backs in this are the universities. They may be about to see their marketing positions undercut. It's that continuing training money that helps fund the places. But given the current state of newsroom training -- and the rising panic as the industry sees its economic models sag -- for now it might well be that there's more than enough to go around.

(FYI: Working Journalist also has yet another journalism jobs board.)

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