J-School on the Fly
January 7, 2019 9:20 AM   Subscribe

What's a good ad hoc journalism school syllabus for an autodidact reporter?

I will soon be hosting and producing a podcast/radio program about civics issues and current affairs (the show is currently in development, to begin airing in a couple months).

Producing this show is very fun and exciting (!!!) and I'd like to stretch myself and make my reporting as professional as possible. What should I be reading? Are there lectures or courses that I should follow? What kind of ad hoc j-school syllabus can I throw together?

In terms of my background: I was a writing major in college, so back then I took some upper-level nonfiction writing courses and wrote weekly news articles and reviews for my college paper. After graduation, I survived for a year or two writing articles for content farms. I also wrote some "real" articles/essays for friends' newsletters at that time and (fruitlessly) pitched professional venues. That was all nearly a decade ago now. Otherwise, all my post-college writing has been fiction. I have done no professional reporting.

I can also throw some money at this, but since I already have to pay to get radio-specific training, I'd prefer to keep the other financial outlays to a relative minimum for now.

In terms of the time commitment, I am very willing to devote a lot of my time off work to this show and to learning more about journalism. Like I said, I find this all very fun, exciting, and fulfilling. However, my day job is as an accountant, and will continue to be so for at least another year or so while I finish fulfilling the CPA license requirements, so unfortunately, I can't do internships or get a (reporting) job at a news org or anything like that in the short-term.
posted by rue72 to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Poynter has some great journalism education courses and resources (some paid but cheap and some free) that are designed mostly for newsrooms. I did one of their paid courses on headlines once (it was like $25?) and it was solid and helpful.


The Knight Foundation also has some great resources related to journalism methods, tools, and digital news.

posted by forkisbetter at 9:38 AM on January 7 [3 favorites]

NPR Training is an excellent resource for this kind of thing.
posted by mykescipark at 10:52 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]

Check out transom.org if you haven’t yet. The site is broadly focused on radio storytelling and craft, but, if I remember correctly, there are some interesting pieces on radio reporting that might be relevant to you. Good luck on your project!
posted by reren at 12:24 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]

Nieman lab, American press institute, Cjr, Margaret Sullivan, jay rosen, and poynter (full disclosure: I’m a columnist there) are good to read/follow too.
posted by melodykramer at 1:48 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]

The Illinois unit of the nonprofit investigative journalism organization ProPublica has an "Ask ProPublica Illinois" feature. They've answered reader questions such as "How do we verify anonymous sources?" "How do we keep bias out of stories?" "How to find out about hot dogs, puppy names and parking tickets."

Here are the "Ask ProPublica Illinois" archives.
posted by virago at 11:10 AM on January 8

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