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NewsU Recommended Training

NewsU Recommended Training

Poynter's News University extends the Poynter Institute's mission as a school for journalists, future journalists, teachers of journalism and anyone interested in the craft and values of the field.

Below are NewsU courses for journalists who are new to the practice or anyone interested in journalism. The courses are FREE unless marked otherwise.


  • Journalism Fundamentals: Craft and Values
    In this course, you'll learn the foundational concepts for reporting, writing, editing and producing multimedia. You'll also gain insight into how journalists think and make editorial decisions.
  • News Sense: The Building Blocks of News
    News Sense explores the basic building blocks of news stories. You’ll examine the who, what, when, where, why and how of events and see how the answers to those questions shape news coverage. You’ll get a chance to apply what you’ve learned through interactive games and quizzes throughout the course.
  • The Interview
    This module will teach you what you need to know about being a better interviewer and allow you to put those lessons into practice as you learn. With the aid of a virtual coach and a typical encounter with a not entirely forthcoming source, you'll have the chance to see firsthand how the kinds of questions you pose can stop or start an effective interview.

  • Conducting Interviews that Matter
    Across all media — print, radio, television, podcast and beyond — journalists thrive on conducting effective interviews. It’s an intricate skill: crafting questions, pivoting around new information, listening intently, managing your biases and more.
  • Introduction to Reporting: Beat Basics
    This course will help you identify the key issues and sources on your beat, learn how to determine what’s included in your beat and develop the resources to focus your coverage. This course will help you confidently approach reporting and writing the first stories off your new beat.
  • The Lead Lab
    The lead of a story makes a promise to the reader of good things to come. Do you deliver on that promise every time you write a lead? Have you ever wondered how to craft better leads? This course is here to help.
  • Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More
    Mistakes in grammar, spelling and style are like coffee stains on a shirt. Readers notice. And those mistakes will eat away at your credibility as a journalist. This self-directed course will help you understand the basics of grammar, spelling, punctuation and AP style.
  • Freedom of Information and Your Right to Know
    Freedom of information is instrumental to journalism and essential for democracy. This course teaches you how to use the Freedom of Information Act, Public Records Laws and Open Meetings Laws to uphold your right to know the government’s actions. Learn not only the details of FOIA laws in your state, but how to use FOIA to write better stories today. This course will teach you how to determine if something is a public document and how to access it if it is.

  • Handling Race and Ethnicity
    The question of whether and how to include racial and ethnic descriptions in news stories is one of the most debated and least understood topics of journalism. In this course, you’ll examine your own assumptions about race and ethnicity. You’ll learn how to discuss the issue with awareness, skill, care, thoughtfulness and critical thinking.

  • Pay Attention: Legal Issues and Your Media Company
    The long arm of the law reaches into every aspect of a news organization, no matter how small or large. From how reporters go about digging up information and which community members get covered to what you do when mistakes do happen or angry readers claim defamation, legal issues are constantly part of the journalism process. The core of this course will focus on risks that news organizations face when publishing articles, video, and other content.
  • Understanding and Interpreting Polls
    Journalists are bombarded with data from polls, especially when election season approaches. Are you confident you can tell the legitimate numbers from the sloppy surveys? How effectively can you evaluate the polling methods? Do you know when nine out of 10 isn’t really nine out of 10? In this course, you’ll gain a better understanding of how polls are conducted, what to look for in the methodology and how to determine the legitimacy of a poll.

  • Stories from the 2020 Census
    This webinar will explain the ABC’s of census-taking, what’s new about the 2020 Census, the impact of census numbers and the challenges to counting everybody. We’ll talk about how to access 2020 Census data, including the first numbers from the count (which come out in December of 2020) and detailed local statistics set to roll out in early 2021. You’ll preview story ideas informed by the numbers and discover trends you can write about now.

  • Avoiding Plagiarism and Fabrication
    Learn what plagiarism and fabrication are, why they are so toxic and how to avoid them. This course also will help editors and producers, as well as educators, detect and root out plagiarism and fabrication.