***This blog post is part of a weekly series titled #SignalBoostSunday. This series will highlight organizations and social causes that are of importance and provide assistance to the Greater Atlanta area. ***
Normally, when I write a #SignalBoostSunday post, the organizations featured are organizations located in the Metro-Atlanta area. For this week’s theme, however, I thought it was a bit more important to highlight organizations that have extensive news literacy resources that are accessible by everyone regardless of location.
So this week’s installment of #SignalBoostSunday is a bit of a special edition. In light of Thursday’s tragedy at the Capital Gazette —a shooting that resulted in the deaths of five people, four of whom were journalists— I felt it was necessary to feature a few online resources that can help clarify the role of journalism and journalists in a healthy democracy.
The Poynter Institute is a non-profit school for journalism. Poynter’s website is a valuable source of educational resources and articles about the business of journalism (newsgathering, ethics, industry news, etc.). It is primarily a site for professional journalists but the website does offer webinars and courses that are appropriate for non-journalists as well who are interested in learning more about journalism.
The best resource, by far, that Poynter offers, is a project called News University. It’s an extensive collection of continuing education/professional development webinars, self-directed courses, videos and tutorials. Many of these classes are free and there are a number of them that are appropriate for non-journalists. For example, News University offers a self-directed course called, “News Sense: The Building Blocks of News.” The course is basically an hour-long Journalism 101 class as it covers topics such as what makes a story newsworthy and how to verify facts.
Journalist’s Toolbox is a website maintained by the Society of Professional Journalists. The site is basically just a long list of links to professional resources and guides for reporters. There are links to resources with subject-matter specific tips on how to properly cover certain topics such as sexual assault, suicide and the environment, just to name a few. There are also links to information about ethics, fact-checking and reporting tools.
The best place to start however, for non-journalists, would be SPJ’s ebook, titled “The Press.” (A link to the free .pdf version can be found on the Journalist’s Toolbox website as well.) The book is only about 16 pages but it covers concepts such as the press’ relationship to the public it serves and how to more effectively raise concerns about a news organization’s coverage of the news.