Top 50 Free Open Courseware Classes for Journalists

If you write fiction, then you are not a journalist – although, many people might believe that mainstream media has moved more toward sensationalism than to the truth to gain ratings. Journalism is in trouble, if this is how this writing genre is depicted today. But, educators are seeking to turn the genre’s reputation around to a more reputable yet still exciting stance. This movement is reflected in many free online courses and in entire Websites dedicated to journalism ethics, editing and new media.

The following list of top 50 free open courseware classes for journalists includes classes offered by college and universities. But, it also includes entire Websites sponsored by nonprofit foundations and colleges, which are dedicated to teaching readers about journalism. This list is categorized and listed alphabetically by course name or Web site name within those categories, and the sponsoring college or foundation is listed after each description.

New Media

  1. Center for the Digital Future: Read about digital futures, conduct research and learn about current news and events within a global project that focuses on understanding mass media’s impact [USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future].
  2. Digital Broadcasting and the Public Interest: This online program includes essays with an eye to regulation, Constitutionality and policy in digital broadcasting [The Aspen Institute].
  3. Electronic Frontier Foundation: Use this site to learn more about bloggers’ rights, coders’ rights, social networking, surveillance self defense and more [Electronic Frontier Foundation].
  4. Institute for Interactive Journalism: Use this site as your personal incubator for innovative news experiments thatuse new technologies and engage people in critical public issues [American University].
  5. Institute for New Media Studies: Stay on top of current events, take advantage of tutorials and handouts and gain skills in digital storytelling as well as in information technologies through this site [University of Minnesota].
  6. Journalism in the Digital Age: John Pavlik leads students through the myriad ways in which digital technologies have had an impact on journalistic practices [Columbia].
  7. Online Journalism: Mindy McAdams provides a list of resources, tips, education and more on this site [University of Florida].
  8. The Center for Internet and Society: Learn about emerging legal doctrine that could determine the course of civil rights and technological innovation [Stanford Law School].

Documentaries and Photojournalism

  1. Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use: Download the handbook and take advantage of the knowledge provided by veteran filmmakers [Center for Social Media].
  2. Documentary Photography and Photo Journalism: Still Images of A World In Motion: Gain exposure to the work of great documentary photographers and photojournalists through this course [MIT].
  3. EP Feature Articles: Use this link to learn more about editorial photography from the masters [Editorial Photographers].
  4. National Press Photographers Association: This site is filled with professional development tools that range from workshops to self training [National Press Photographers Association].
  5. Photography and Truth: This course serves up an anthropological approach to photography as art, research tool and communication [MIT].
  6. Producing Films for Social Change: Learn more about film making and documentaries in general through this editorial and production course filled with examples [Tufts].

Reporting

  1. BBC Free Online Courses: Learn how the BBC uses DV cameras and radio to broadcast their news. Topics include radio interviews, pre-production for television and software instructions [BBC].
  2. Covering Terrorism – A Series of Two E-Seminars: Brigitte Nacos, Associate Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, examines the “marriage of convenience that exists between terrorists and the media” [Columbia].
  3. YouTube Reporters’ Center: This YouTube offering brings video instruction, advice and more from top news sources to one handy place to learn more about reporting techniques [Various].
  4. War Reporting – A Series of Three E-Seminars: Professor Tom Lansner, a former war correspondent for the British Press, covers a broad swath of battlefield journalism through these seminars [Columbia].

Theory

  1. Gender and Media Studies: Women and the Media: Learn more about race, class, gender and sexual identity are represented in media from film to television, print journalism and more [MIT].
  2. Media in Cultural Context: Popular Readerships: This course introduces students to a broad history of popular reading, with focuses on reader response theory, hypertext and historical materials [MIT].
  3. News Reporting Simulation: A Fire Scenario: Your assignment is to cover a fire for a newspaper with a two-hour deadline [Columbia].

History and Research

  1. Local TV News Media Project: use this site to learn more about television as a news media source. Click on “publications” to read reports and essays [University of Delaware].
  2. Moving Image Research Collections: This collection is under conservation to encourage new interpretations of the recent past [University of South Carolina].
  3. Museum of the Moving Image: Visit the “Web Projects” section to gain access to links about journalism and documentaries [Museum of the Moving Image].
  4. Newseum: If you cannot visit this Washington, DC museum, visit the site to look at archived materials and to learn more about the news media throughout this country’s history [Newseum].
  5. Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room: This is a division of the Library of Congress, offering vast resources for historians, journalists and researchers [Library of Congress].
  6. The Museum of Broadcast Communications: The mission of the Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) is to collect, preserve and present historic and contemporary radio and television content as well as educate, inform and entertain the public [The Museum of Broadcast Communications].
  7. The Paley Center for Media: The Paley Center for Media leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public. [Paley Center for Media].
  8. UCLA Film and Television Archive: A unique resource for media study, the Archive constitutes one of the largest collections of media materials in the United States [UCLA].

Editing

  1. Aces: This site promotes programs, education and more for copy editors who work in newspapers, magazines, Web sites and other reporting endeavors [ACES].
  2. Copyediting: This site is geared toward communications officers of major corporations, editors of trade newsletters, freelancers for journal publishers, newspaper copy chiefs and more. Use this site to gain access to language news, style advice and usage tips [McMurry, Inc.].
  3. EditTeach: This entire site is dedicated to teaching and resources for editing professors, students and working professionals [Knight Foundation, Committee of Concerned Journalists].
  4. Institute for Midcareer Copy Editors: Use this link to discover hundreds of resources for copy editors [Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication].
  5. Virtual Writing Center: Print out these handouts, or refer to them online for everything from citation styles to cover letters, types of writing and styles of writing [The Writing Center].

Collections

  1. Center for the Study of the Public Domain: Learn more about the realm of material in the public domain as well as a wider intellectual property program included at this site [Duke].
  2. Columbia Journalism School Seminars: Listen to recordings of lectures and presentations by distinguished journalists and media entrepreneurs who have visited the Graduate School of Journalism [Columbia].
  3. Committee of Concerned Journalists: Consider this site as an ongoing classroom filled with some of journalism’s best ideas, strategies and techniques for both journalists and citizens [Committee of Concerned Journalists].
  4. Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma: This site is a resource for journalists who cover topics such as war, domestic violence, veterans’ news, traumatic situations and more. You can find information, resources, classes and seminars at this site [Columbia, Dart Society].
  5. Journalism Ethics Cases Online: This set of cases was created for teachers, researchers, professional journalists and news consumers and broach topics such as privacy, conflict of interest and the role of journalists in their communities [Indiana University].
  6. Journalism.org: This site is dedicated to understanding the information revolution, and contains opinion, news, tools and information basic to any journalist [Pew Research Center].
  7. Knight Citizen News Network: This self-help portal guides both ordinary citizens and traditional journalists into launching and responsibly operating community news and information sites [Knight Foundation].
  8. Media Helping Media Training Resources: You could spend days at this archive, as it is filled with articles written by professionals that touch on topics ranging from basic journalism to investigative techniques and media strategies [Media Ideas International Ltd. and other volunteers].
  9. Multimedia and Technology Training: From FTP to Mashups, this site offers tutorials and advice from knowledgeable instructors in easy-to-understand formats [UC Berkeley, Knight Foundation].
  10. News University: This entire site is devoted to training for journalists with courses that cover topics from advertising and broadcasting to photojournalism and reporting [Poynter Institute, Knight Foundation].
  11. NewsCollege: This site is filled with articles and advice for writers, journalists, editors and researchers [NewsCollege].
  12. Nieman Foundation for Journalism: Use this site as a repository filled with examples of narrative journalism as well as information about other programs and publications [Harvard].
  13. Poynter Training: Although this page contains a link to News University (see above), it also contains information to Webinars and other tools for journalists [Poynter Institute].
  14. Society of Professional Journalists Training Tutorials: Learn tips and advice from pros on everything from broadcasting to ethics in journalism and more from this site [Society of Professional Journalists].
  15. State of the News Media 2008: This report constitutes an entire course in current mediums with major trends, content analysis, marketing trends and much more [The Project for Excellence in Journalism].
  16. StinkyJournalism: Not all journalism stinks, but when news stories go bad, the reporter’s method usually is to blame. This site advocates more rigorous and scientific journalistic methodology [Art Science Research Laboratory, Inc.].
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