Online learning

NewsU is an online learning platform that offers e-courses in journalism and news media to the general public.

Most bloggers are not professional writers. This is one of the main reasons why many bloggers fail, they don’t know how to write for their audience. They learn how to write in school, but they fail to learn how to engage an audience. If you can’t hook them, they will get bored and leave.

Fortunately for bloggers, journalism is not only about reporting but also about engaging their audience. This is why bloggers should study journalism to become more effective writers, to convey their message in a clear and coherent manner, and engage their audience.

The Poynter Institute is the premier organization dedicated to “ensure that Americans have access to excellent journalism’”the kind of journalism that enables us to participate fully and effectively in our  democracy.”

They are THE source of educational initiatives aimed at improving journalism and helping journalists further their knowledge, which includes News University (NewsU).

NewsU is an online learning platform that offers e-courses in journalism and news media to the general public. You don’t have to be a journalist to take their courses. All you have to do is register and start learning. They offer an  enormous    amount of free self-directed courses.

This list offers handpicked remarkable e-courses offered by NewsU to be an indespensible learning resource for all bloggers. It doesn’t matter what your blogging topic is, you will benefit from all courses on the list. Learn how to write leads and improve your writing style to engage your readers. Learn interview skills for podcasts and interview-style posts. Brush up on online media law. Learn to understand polls and so much more. The NewsU is a remarkable source of educational content and resources. Bookmark it.

The Writer’s Workbench: 50 Tools You Can Use

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a mastery over word choice, sentence structure and architecture for your stories
  • Use special effects to refine your writing voice
  • Write with confidence and develop your own useful habits

Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and solve grammatical problems in your copy
  • Pick the right word when choosing between tricky pairs such as “that/which,” “that/who” and “who/whom”
  • Use the correct AP style for addresses, ages, money and numbers
  • Identify and correct common punctuation errors
  • Correctly spell words that are tough to get right
  • Avoid typos caused by homonym trip-ups

Get Me Rewrite: The Craft of Revision

Upon completing this course, you will know how to:

  • Identify and tag problems in your copy
  • Identify weak verbs and other words in your text
  • Analyze the length of your sentences and paragraphs and determine how long is too long
  • Trim pesky and extraneous words and phrases that bog down your copy

The Lead Lab

Upon completing this course, you will:

  • Be able to craft better leads
  • Have refreshed your lead-writing basics
  • Dispel common myths about leads
  • Revise your own leads better

Lousy Listeners: How to Avoid Being One

Upon completing this course, you will be:

  • A better journalist, enabling you to take in nuance and detail.
  • A better interviewer, as you build on the thoughts and feelings you are hearing.
  • A better problem-solver, as you perceive emotions in the conversation.
  • A better manager or leader.

The Interview

After taking this course, you will be able to:

  • Prepare quickly for an effective interview.
  • Recognize the difference between green light and red light questions that can keep an interview moving along or stall it in its tracks.
  • Learn the power of listening and avoid the pitfalls of “off the record.”

Understanding and Interpreting Polls

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Appreciate the value of solid polling data
  • Understand the science of polling
  • Identify the elements of a valid poll
  • Interpret the methods box of a poll
  • Analyze the quality of questions
  • Identify appropriate sample groups
  • Understand weighting and its value
  • Evaluate polling agencies and sponsors

Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Publishers

Upon completing this course, you will know about:

  • Defamation
  • Copyright infringement
  • Invasion of privacy

Freedom of Information

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Use the federal Freedom of Information Act to request information.
  • Obtain public records and attend meetings under state-level Sunshine Laws.
  • Use documents to drive your newsroom.
  • See how others have used FOI to write better stories.
  • Use the Web to find more information about FOI laws in your state.

Targeting New Audiences: Finding Your Niche

Upon completing this course, you will know how to:

  • Describe how youth interact with Internet and print platforms.
  • Know how to research what a specific audience wants.
  • Know the characteristics of niche publications that have succeeded and failed.
  • Define a goal and platform for a niche publication that will satisfy the audience’s needs.
  • Develop publication prototypes.
  • Conduct focus groups to get audience feedback on ideas and prototypes.
  • Know where to go to figure out potential profit and cost for the publication.

Don’t stop there. NewsU offers a lot more free e-courses that might be right for you. I tried to keep this list to courses that will benefit all bloggers, across all topics. Have fun learning!

All 10 courses are free. They are there for you to learn and become a better writer, better blogger.

Have you taken any courses on NewsU? Which ones do you plan on taking? Share your thoughts and plans.