Online Training

Beyond the Inverted Pyramid: Creating Alternative Story Forms

Since readers seem to have less and less time to read, you need to help them get the information they need. You’ll learn how to select, write, edit and present a variety of alternative forms through various interactive games and activities.

What Will I Learn:

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Break down information by theme and organize stories to make them snappy and more useful to time-crunched readers
  • Focus on the importance of newsroom collaboration
  • Understand the difference and range of supplemental and standalone forms
  • Demonstrate what forms work best with what story ideas

Who should take this course:

Writers, reporters, editors and designers who are looking for new ways to make information more useful to readers who are pressed for time.

Course Instructor:

Andy Bechtel

 Andy Bechtel teaches editing and writing at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has about a dozen years of experience as a copy editor at North Carolina newspapers. While on the faculty at UNC, he worked for a summer at the Los Angeles Times website, calling himself “the 40-year-old intern.” Bechtel blogs about editing, headline writing and social media at

Bechtel has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the American Copy Editors Society, and he is the author of a NewsU course on alternative story forms.

Build and Engage Local Audiences Online

Learn why local content is essential to your survival, and how you can continue being the chief information source to your community, no matter what the platform.

In this course, you’ll hear editors and publishers from across the industry share their stories and their strategies for success. Talk to a virtual colleague to think through some of the questions and concerns you’ll want to address. And test your knowledge of online audiences and the tools you can use to drive them to your site. Along the way, you’ll collect the info you’ll need to create an action plan for your newsroom.

What Will I Learn:

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Discover the importance of growing your newspaper’s presence online.
  • Identify and assess your online audience.
  • Address concerns about your paper’s growth online.
  • Hear how others have grown their sites with limited resources.
  • Build a network of others who work are making the online transition and share can your fears and frustrations.

Who should take this course:

Publishers, editors and journalists in any newsroom in the middle of the online transformation. If you want to strengthen your online publication and build relationships with online audiences, this course is for you. This course also features special content for those in community and suburban newspapers — dailies and weeklies.

Course Instructors:

Susan Karol

Susan Karol is executive director for the Suburban Newspapers of America Foundation, a charitable trust that seeks to help community and suburban newspaper publishers meet the future communication needs of their changing communities through research and education.

Mark J. Miller

Mark J. Miller has written for American Journalism Review, Presstime, Crain’s BtoB’s Media Business, Folio: magazine and Digital Magazine News as well as Glamour, Details, The Washington Post,, Sports Illustrated for Kids and Runner’s World, among many others.


Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More

This self-directed course helps journalists and others understand the basics of grammar, spelling, punctuation and AP style. The course has four content sections that focus on the most common mistakes and teach you how to avoid them. When you’re ready, take the “Copy Quotient Test” and see how well you can clean your copy.

What Will I Learn:

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

Who should take this course:

Writers, reporters, bloggers, visual journalists and anyone who wants to avoid typos and grammatical mistakes in their writing.

Course Instructor:

Vicki Krueger

Vicki Krueger is director of interactive learning/News University at The Poynter Institute and author of Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More – a self-directed module that consistently is ranked as one of the most popular courses at NewsU. She has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years, including work on “Best Newspaper Writing,” the annual collection of the ASNE Distinguished Writing Award winners and finalists, as well as other Poynter publications. She recently completed editing “Aim for the Heart,” a book by Poynter’s Al Tompkins for TV reporters and producers and developed an e-learning module at NewsU to accompany the book, Reporting, Writing for TV and the Web: Aim for the Heart. You can follow her on Twitter at vkrueger.



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