Newspaper Training Days: It’s About the Learning

Shortly after the launch of Poynter’s e-learning platform, News University, I was interviewed by the Newspaper Association of America’s monthly magazine, Presstime.  The author, Teddi Dineley Johnson, used the 2002 Knight Foundation survey about training, as a way to explore how various organizations are dealing with training issues.

In an industry that prides itself on breaking the big story, newspaper executives were caught by surprise three years ago when a landmark study found that lack of training was the No. 1 source of job dissatisfaction–ahead of salary and benefits–among U.S. journalists.

Data from this survey actually helped me figure out the direction of NewsU and its conclusions were supported by Poynter’s own research on the topic.

Here’s what I had to say about training:

“It’s all about getting smarter,” Finberg says. “It’s not about a grade, not about an application, not about a certificate. It’s about learning and, ideally, the kind of learning that’s important to your job.”

Some interesting historical notes:

* There were lots of references to the American Press Institute’s training programs.  API has evolved into more of a ‘think tank’ and no longer does traditional seminars.

* NewsU stats: 4,500 users; as of early 2014 there are more than 280,000 users.

* NAA’s online training efforts at naauniversity.org is gone.

Such is the evolving nature of training for the newspaper industry.