PRINCETON, N.J. – The inaugural Dow Jones News Fund Early Career Training class of young journalists has completed a 10-week program focusing on enhancing skills in interviewing, reporting and writing. The class included 13 reporters from five McClatchy newsrooms.
The program started and ended with a two-day training session and in between, the Fellows, each with less than three years’ experience, met once a week virtually to discuss topics such as covering communities, access to health care and its impact on residents, self care for journalists, tips to immediately improve your writing, staying safe online while engaging with readers, pitching stories to your editor and using new technology to present fuller news reports.
“Our goal was to provide these young reporters with practical tools that they could put to use immediately,” said Shirley Carswell, executive director of the Dow Jones News Fund. “We see this program as an important way to support those who are new to the workforce as well as help newsrooms with staff development and talent retention.”
The News Fund established this new exchange of learning in answer to a challenge among editors who lament their inability to develop promising young hires, especially as staffs have been thinned and training budgets have disappeared, Carswell said. In addition to advancing young careers and expanding affordable training opportunities for local newsrooms, the program aims to generate more impactful local reporting.
“We’re so grateful we were able to help the DJNF pilot this training program for early-career journalists,” said Robyn Tomlin, McClatchy’s chief news officer. “Our team members benefitted greatly from the training and mentorship and the intense focus on helping them improve their skills so they can continue to serve their communities with essential local journalism.”
The 13 fellows demonstrated their new skills in beat stories they worked on throughout the training program. Each reporter also has completed or is working to finish a story that looks at the impact of a news issue on the quality of life for people in the communities they cover. Each journalist was awarded a certificate for their participation during the final session at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism on the downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University.
Veteran news executive Sandra Long Weaver was the director for the program. She lined up nearly two dozen distinguished journalists to lead sessions, including Pulitzer-prize winning reporters; former and current top editors of major newsrooms; noted writing coaches, and diversity and inclusion experts.
The News Fund sponsored the pilot program, which was free for Fellows. Participating newsrooms commit to providing paid time off for journalists to attend virtual training once a week for several weeks and two-day in-person sessions at the start and conclusion of the program. Partner organizations will be charged a modest fee for each Fellow to offset training costs.
News organizations interested in learning more about the program or scheduling training for their early career staff should email Carswell at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next session is planned for late 2023 or early 2024.
The 2023 Early Career Training Fellows are: Kallie Cox, Evan Moore and DJ Simmons from The Charlotte Observer; Joseph Hernandez from The Kansas City Star; Colleen Hammond, Luciana Perez Uribe Guinassi and Teddy Rosenbluth from The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina; Angelica Relente, Aspen Shumpert and Peter Talbot from The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington; and Maya Miller, Marcus Smith and Brianna Taylor from The Sacramento Bee.