News Directors, Managers, Program Directors: Signing up for high quality digital news training is a no-brainer! But just in case, four reasons why you should do it now:
New platforms require new skills. We're adept at creating high quality audio content for radio, and that content can be successful online. But web requires us to learn other skills, too: we need to learn how to write stories and other original content for the web; we need to learn how to craft elegant, compact, compelling headlines; we need to understand how to engage effectively on Facebook; we need to learn how to use Twitter to find news sources and communicate with our audience; we need to acquire basic photography skills. These are skills that many of us don't have, but our training is designed to give your team the knowledge to use new digital tools well.
Your audience expects quality from your station on every platform. It might seem like a catch-22: If you're not on the platforms where your listeners expect to find you, it hurts your credibility. But if your listeners go to your website and discover the news isn't up to date, you don't look so good. It's not merely being there, it's making sure that when you're there, you're projecting the best possible image of your station to listeners, stakeholders, major donors, and the community at large.
Your staff gets a more personalized training. We find that most stations are looking for training in basic to intermediate digital skills. We've designed our training accordingly. But our training sessions are small, so your reporters and producers can ask questions during the webinars, email the trainers, and we tailor the information we present during the webinars to the stations participating. We're proud of the system-wide weekly webinars we offer, but 11-week webinar series is a more customized experience for your team, and the on-site training brings our program directly to your staff.
The training is incredibly affordable. Thanks to the Knight Foundation, stations can participate in the full 11-week intensive training at no cost, except for airfare to the three-day conference in Washington, DC, or Culver City, CA. The on-site trainings are also partially subsidized, depending on eligibility. In return for the low cost, we expect stations to commit to the trainings, to ensure that staff complete their assignments, and to put their digital strategy into action. That costs time and energy, but it's a commitment we know will pay long-term dividends.
Our 11-week intensive course includes a three-day conference where news directors, content leaders and station management develop their own specific digital strategy, and plan the first steps in executing it. Then, in the weeks that follow, station news and content teams participate in training webinars, and managers get regular one-on-one consultations with digital news trainers.
Our week-long on-site training brings our team right into your newsroom. It's the most customized and immersive training that we offer, and we cover a lot of ground in five days: content creation skills, social media and photography, among other topics. While this is an intensive (and intense) training, stations that have done it report not only improvement in the content their reporters create, but a new level of understanding and appreciation of the mission of the organization and how it expands to include new platforms. This is another example of how a greater effort can produce a greater reward.
We think training is a top priority for the system, and we're proud of how good and how affordable it is. So if you have questions about either training program, or which one might be right for you, contact your station rep and we'll tell you more about it.