Poynter Journalism Workshop, Chennai, India: My Experience!

Poynter-NewsU-Journalism-Training-Workshop-Chennai-1

* Whether you read the article or not, don’t miss the song embedded in the end *

You maybe thinking – why did this guy go to a journalism training workshop? Frankly, I am wondering about the same too! :)

Who is Poynter.org?

“We teach those who manage, edit, produce, program, report, write, blog, photograph and design, whether they belong to news organizations or work as independent entrepreneurs. We teach those who teach, as well as students in middle school, high school and college—the journalists of tomorrow.”-Poynter.org.

Actually, I had registered on their site to attend a couple online courses (earlier) and one day I got a mail from them informing me about this workshop, that too in Chennai. Initially, I was not *so inclined* to attend – but they had mentioned that the free 3-day workshop included lunch (with desserts), tea & snacks at the Taj Club House. I had not tasted the lunch in this five star hotel (yet), and that was – frankly – the deal-breaker :P

Of course, none of my blogs is about news. But, I do write stories based on interviews, especially for the Sustainable-Living category on this site, and for my renewable energy blog. So, I thought why not learn to publish that in a more appealing way? I know, you feel for a *rebel* like me professionalism and such doesn’t really suit, but believe me – there is an order behind all that chaos. At least, there has to be (in the future) . . . :)

Poynter-NewsU-Journalism-Training-Workshop-Chennai-2

The seminar hall was filled with reporters, editors, journalism teachers, journalism students, Poynter staff & associates (from US) and . . . me (blogger). I was a surprised why other professional bloggers did not come (maybe they were not aware), but, I feel, learning (some of) the methodologies followed by journalists will help us communicate better/more effectively, in our blogs.

Many new tools for digital publishing were introduced in this workshop, that I was not aware of. They spoke about ethics in publishing, problems faced by journalists in India/US, how to teach journalism more effectively for students, how a traditional print media can expand into the digital space, how to use social media, basics of story-telling, etc. (They showed the trailer of Titanic movie. Boy, wasn’t that interesting, even today, after having watched the movie so many times! They could have showed the movie also – I will suggest it when the post-seminar survey comes :P ).

Poynter-NewsU-Journalism-Training-Workshop-Chennai-3

Prominent in presence were Journalists/Editors from The Hindu, Deccan Chronicle, Ananda Vikadan, Dina Mani; Educators & Students from M.O.P Vaishnav College, Anna University, Pondicherry University, St. Stephen’s College. I learned many new things while interacting with people from media/colleges.

*****

I did make some *blunders* (as usual) -

Trainer: (After asking a few people to read a short note about their favorite desserts) What did you think while listening to them? Anyone in the audience?

Me: Where can I buy those desserts, myself?

Trainer: (After a short pause) You are very practical :)

Implying: Instead of following the technical aspects of writing & analyzing that, YOU are ONLY bothered about where to BUY those desserts???  

What to do, it was about DESSERTS!! :P 

*****

I was glad to see many journalists/editors from Tamil newspapers and magazines, in the workshop. Some of them already publish online (it seems) and others might also start publishing soon (I guess).

On the whole, I thank the Poynter.org team (and US consulate) for bringing this workshop to Chennai, and (mainly) for the lunch, desserts and snacks :) If you want to know, Tea & Coffee were not so good, but the food and cookies were great :P

Newsu.org is the Poynter’s online journalism training portal – anyone can register and take courses on skill improvement (new media). Some courses are free of cost.

I’ll leave you with something I got at the end of the program -

My-Certificate-from-Poynter-Journalism-Institute

No one can say I have not been formally trained in media, any longer :P

Destination Infinity

Now it’s my turn to show something to the Poynter officials that is very Chennai -


HEIGHTS of POP music – in an attractive sense, of course :P ;) :P

16 thoughts on “Poynter Journalism Workshop, Chennai, India: My Experience!

  1. There is always something new in your blog.I come across many things that I am not aware..You are versatile,frank and call a spade a spade.Let me visit this Poynter site and find out some areas where I can improve my skills free of cost.
    It would be nice if you tell in advance some such programmes,may be,some of your readers may take advantage of such things

    1. This one was a closed invite – people could apply to attend, but Poynter team had to approve it. I didn’t expect my application to be approved, and initially I just took a chance thinking it was not for bloggers. But by the time the approval came, and by the time I decided to go, it was too late to tell others.

      Yes, Poynter has some good free courses – I took a couple of them on editing/proof-reading. Do check their newsu.org website…

      Destination Infinity

  2. One question and one observation.

    Why would this organization come all the way from USA and give free workshop in Chennai which includes free food from a five star hotel’s restaurant? What is the catch?

    Nothing wrong in asking what does a person do. His name tag just said his name and organization only. It did not give his title, right? Suppose, the tag gave his title also then it is your “ignorance”. If he was taken aback by your question, that shows his “arrogance”.

    I once asked a decorated American Air Force General (whose name is world famous, not only just in USA) to show me his ID when he came to receive something from my office.

    1. 2. Yes, I think you are right. I somehow felt it was humorous (at least it occurred to me like that, then), so, I put it up here. But I am not able to see the humor myself when I read it again now! I have deleted that section.

      1. This workshop was sponsored by American Consulate (it seems). I don’t know why they are doing it – it could be a market survey or it could be to introduce Poynter’s online courses to Indian audience. But, I am not sure.

      Destination Infinity

  3. Oh wow. The workshop sounds interesting (and the food at Taj Club House, even more :-D). Wish I’d known about this. It would have been interesting to see the aspect of how things here are done professionally. Thanks for the link thought, looking to take up some online course.

    1. Well, I think the link offers much more than the short workshop could offer. Of course, nothing like being there and interacting with experts.

      Destination Infinity

    1. I’ve heard of coursera, need to check it now. Along with it, I need to check the free & open courses by MIT & Harvard too. Will do it sometime, thanks for mentioning about the same.

      Destination Infinity

  4. Very cool! It is nice to learn some tricks of the trade an I vouch for ordered chaos as well. I am going to check the website out for something i have in mind as well. Thanks Rajesh – nice of you to share!

  5. Interesting workshop it looks like DI. That’s indeed awesome that you were able to attend it with top journalists. Will check out their online courses. It will definitely be useful to take few courses and refine our writing. Agree with the first comment. I always end up learning something new whenever I visit your blog. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>