(Updated on 9/13/2010 @ 6:31 p.m. with correct info for classes offered by Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.)
It’s September and kids from kindergarten to college are headed back to the classroom.
This time of year, that back-to-school feeling is hard to escape, even if you finished your formal education years ago.
So why not just go with it, and sign up for a class or two to improve your skills and help your writing business.
Here’s a list of places that offer writing or other classes online; some are open only to members, which means you’ll need to subscribe to that professional organization in order to sign up.
Knight Digital Media Center – This journalism training partnership between USC Annenberg and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism offers some online training materials in support of the week-long on-site seminars the schools run for working journalists. Categories include reporting, audio, video, photography, and more.
Knowledgewebb – Online training site Knowledgewebb focuses on training journalists about the tech tools they need to do their jobs, and not just to work for digital publications. Subjects range from basics such as math for journalists to planning your first multimedia story to more sophisticated subjects including content management systems, databases and getting more traffic to your website or blog. To see what you’re getting for your money, Knowledgewebb offers four sample classes you can take for free, including 50 Ways to Improve Your Blog and Workflow for Online Editorial Content. Classes are available to members only. Annual subscription is $129 a year, although generous discounts are available to members of affiliate organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists, Online News Association, ReligonWriters.com, Freelance Success and others.
Mediabistro – The virtual community for freelancers runs online and on-demand courses and webinars, and offers one of the greatest range of topics out there, including staples such as Bootcamp for Journalists and Travel Writing Boot Camp. Mediabistro has literally dozens of courses slated to start in in the next couple weeks – but don’t worry if you miss the one you want, it’s bound to repeat sometime in the not too distant future. Some online classes are under an hour, others last several hours and others span the course of several weeks. Costs vary. Subscribers to Mediabistro’s AvantGuild inner circle get discounts on classes, but classes are open to all.
News University – This e-learning program is run by Poynter Institute, the non-profit journalism training organization that also owns and publishes the St. Petersburg Times. In addition to online training, News U. also offers webinars and in-person training, and you don’t need to be a member of any particular organization to sign up. Right now, News U. is asking freelancers to participate in an online survey to come up with subjects for a series of online writing webinars the organization plans to launch in 2011; participating writers get 50 percent off registration for one webinar plus $10 off an online class on stopping writer’s block that takes place this Thursday, Sept. 16.
Online News Association – This professional organization for staff and freelance digital journalists at all kinds of publications doesn’t offer much of its own online training, though members receive discounts on classes from News U. and Knowledgewebb. However, the group plans to use some of the $75,000 in grant funding it received recently to expand its own online training. If you live in Washington D.C. or plan to be there in late October, don’t miss ONA10, the organization’s annual conference, which crams as much digital-media training into two days as you could possibly hope for. In case you need more convincing, here’s a recap from last year’s conference.
Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism – The seven-year-old business journalism training program says 9,000 writers have taken its courses. The center, physically located at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, offers a variety of live and on-demand online training – all focused on how to do a better job of covering a business beat. Upcoming webinars include: Developing Business Angles on Any Beat (Sept. 14) and Think Like Google: What You Need to Know about SEO (Oct. 19).
Writer’s Digest University – The online training branch of Writer’s Digest Magazine offers training for writes in all genres, including magazine writing, fiction, poetry and technical writing. The next sets of multi-week, online workshops begin Sept. 16 and 23. Right now anyone who signs up for a workshop gets a free WD on-demand webinar on DIY publishing.