Sep 12th 2016

Journalism Skills for Engaged Citizens (Coursera)

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This is a course in basic journalism skills designed for citizens who are using new media to publish news, views and information. We cover writing skills, interviews, ethics, law and accessing public forums and documents. We also introduce basic investigative skills.

This is a course in basic journalism skills, designed for the many people who are now taking advantage of new media to publish news, views and information. For five hundred years, the privilege of being able to publish was enjoyed by very few people – those who had access to a printing press or a radio microphone or a television camera. Now, almost anyone can publish to the world within minutes of being able to do so. But is it journalism?

How does a citizen journalist find things out, so they can report facts and news - moving beyond merely braying opinion? And what are the legal and ethical pitfalls to publishing facts that some people might prefer remain secret?

Over eight weeks, this course teaches the basics of news writing, how to interview people to gain crucial information, how to develop and manage your sources and how to use your legal rights to access public information - and stay on the right side of the law when you publish. We discuss the ethics behind journalism practice, and conduct a mock investigation into local government. This course aims to empower engaged citizens to better participate in the news ecology.

Suggested Readings:
The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect, Completely Updated and Revised
Reporting in a Multimedia World: An Introduction to Core Journalism Skills
Journalism Ethics for the Digital Age
What's Next in Journalism?: New-Media Entrepreneurs Tell Their Stories (Media Chronicles)