* 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
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) . . .
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 ).
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!!
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
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 -
No one can say I have not been formally trained in media, any longer
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