October 8, 2019 (Updated )
It’s probably safe to assume that if you’re reading this, you’re looking to become a journalist and would like some idea of where to start, right? Either that, or you’ve stumbled across this page looking for somewhere to trade in your e-book vouchers (we don’t take them unfortunately).
What we can offer you, however, is a bit of sage advice. On your way into the journalism industry, you’re going to be told several times that it’s all about who you know or even which multi-thousand pound course you undertake. And while there may be some truth to this, there’s more than one way to skin a cat when it comes to getting into journalism.
One of those is the litany of free training resources for journos out there on the internet. Whether you’re looking to learn the basics or you’re an experienced journo looking for a refresher, these sites, courses, videos and e-books will help you on your journalism journey.
Plus they are completely, and we can’t stress this enough, free. So if a masters degree happens to be juuuusst out of your price range, you may want to read on and make a note of these resources.
In this age of false information and so-called fake news, it’s no wonder new journos will need all the help they can get to make sure they’re walking on that straight-and-narrow ethical line.
Luckily, FirstDraft has hundreds of resources for you, including plenty on how you can be a good journo in these trying times. Responsible reporting, verification, and online safety here we come.
The Thomson Foundation do offer paid training but what’s more useful to the thrifty ones among us is the large catalogue of e-learning they have on their website.
There are more than 700 minutes of video and all courses are CPD-approved, so count towards their Continuing Profession Development awards.
Also, if you complete three courses, you get free access to one of their spenny courses. Popular ones up for grabs include social media, building a brand, and mobile journalism.
All thing upskilling could lead to a newer, shiner job… And there’s no better place to start looking than on Cision Jobs. The UK’s leading jobs board for journalism, they’ve got hundreds of journalism jobs live every day. Check ’em out. You can thank us later.
BBC Get In
We picked this video because it had a monkey in it.
Formerly known as the BBC Academy, BBC Get In offers advice on how to best position yourself to get hired onto their apprenticeships and grad schemes.
But did you know that their YouTube channel is chock-full of tutorial videos that are useful on the job like interviewing techniques and smartphone journalism? It’s worth looking through them in playlists so you can find what you want easily.
News Associates tout themselves as ‘the UK’s top journalism school’ and they are a trusted name in journalism training. It’s one of the reasons we often partner with them for events.
As well as offering a full NCTJ-accredited course, they also offer free journalism masterclasses in London and Manchester. Play your cards right and we might also be there too.
Online Journalism by Xavier
For the visual learners amongst you, this independent YouTube channel which was run by a lovely bilingual gentleman named Xavier (with an X) contains a pretty extensive course taking you through all you need to know about online journalism.
There are lessons in how to use microphones, how to get the best out of an interview and even how to find news.
Google News Labs
Google have their fingers in everything so journalism training shouldn’t surprise you. With more than 10 hours of free lessons and courses, News Labs will teach you all the ins-and-outs of digital journalism, with a focus on Google products (well, it’s to be expected really).
You’ll also find info on monetisation, investigative journalism and data-led reporting.
Made in partnership with Google News Initiative, Storylab Academy is a crash course in all things journo designed specifically with journalists working around Africa in mind.
Still, there’s plenty of useful stuff even if that doesn’t apply to you – think data, investigative journalism, digital security and more.
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, Datajournalism.com has articles and lessons on different aspects of how to use and present data to tell stories, all free to access.
If you’re in for the long-haul, it’s worth giving their data journalism handbook a read, which covers almost anything you could ever want to know.
Poynter News University
100+ interactive journalism courses and an international community of 150,000+ members, what’s not to like? You’ll find everything from how to interpret polls to how to plan the promotion of a big scoop.
Also, there’s an archive of regular webinars to access too, most of which are free of charge.
EDX is an online learning portal with plenty to offer when it comes to journalism, including courses on detecting fake news and investigative journalism.
The courses are also all put together by actual universities such as Michigan, Berkley, and Harvard. Long story short, you know it’s legit.
Considering your next job move? Then it’s time to look up Cision Jobs. Our trusted jobs partner, they list hundreds of journalism jobs online at any one time. Go on, take a look. Just maybe not on your work computer.
Another place where free online courses abound; just search ‘journalism’ in the search bar and go to town! Similarly, all of the courses are also put together by universities.
Last time we checked there were more than 40 courses on offer.
Alison is another free online course hub with plenty of courses on media studies that range from the basic to the complex. Plus, they’re often revised so you know you’re getting the most relevant info.
We counted about 20 here, so plenty to keep you busy whether you’re looking for broadcast, gaming, or writing for a young audience..
The Knight Center
The Knight Center for Journalism was created by the University of Texas at Austin to help raise the ethical and professional standards of journalism in Latin America and the Caribbean. The site has a small library of useful free textbooks available for download.
Some may not apply directly to you (unless you’re in the aforementioned places, in which case: hello Puerto Rico!). Regardless, there are some goodies in there, such as Global Journalism Education: Challenges and Innovations and Journalism in Times of Threats, Censorship and Violence.
Solutions Journalism Learning Lab
Solutions journalism is basically journalism which looks to rigorously look at solutions to social problems, and more of us should be doing it.
There are a whole host of free online courses about how to do more solutions journalism in their lab, with a basic guide, as well as in-depth courses for different sectors.
European Journalism Centre
The EJC have funded loads of training initiatives (including datajournalism.com, off of earlier in this list), so it’s worth having a leaf through.
They also run their own events, and it’s free to attend their News Summits, which are day-long, issue led events bringing together experts from across the field.
You had to expect that this would be here, right? If you haven’t been to one of our events yet, you really should. We often bring in top journos from around the country to give you exclusive tea on how to break into the industry and how to make the most of your specific skills (full listings over here).
Plus, if you can’t make it or you need something a little more specific, you’re more than welcome to hit us up on social media and we’ll do our best to field any burning questions you have. Good luck out there!
This piece was produced with the kind support of Cision Jobs, the UK’s leading journalism jobs board. If you’re thinking it could be time for your next move (or even just want to nosey about what’s out there) go and check them out. They’re great. We’re only friends with great people.