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Teaching journalists

Getting new skills, keeping them up to date

The challenge

All OffspinMedia's teachers, tutors and coaches have experience at the highest levels of the media and have taught journalism to the 'gold standard' required by the BBC.

That teaching has included; writing and broadcasting skills; original and investigative journalism; broadcast production; social media; specialist journalism; ethics and values; media law. 

We've lectured and taught in journalism schools and in media organisations in the UK and abroad - in places as varied as the Netherlands, Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia and the Middle East.

OffspinMedia's principals and coaches have developed a particular expertise in teaching early and mid-career journalist in transitional media environments.

In one recent case, the business journalists working in a post-Soviet country were, effectively, at war with the business community. Mutual trust was almost non-existent. 

The business journalists were almost exclusively under 30 - a new generation. The major business figures were almost exclusively over 50 - the older generation, inheritors of the post-Soviet break-up.

We were asked, by a consortium of business journalists, to help refine their skills to place their specialist media on a more secure footing, to increase mutual trust and to make their journalism more relevant to their audiences. 

What OffspinMedia delivered

We began with a thorough audit of the kind of journalism they were delivering. What they were setting out to achieve. Their models. Their relationships with sources and the values of their reporting.

We agreed with them that their journalism was internationally rather than nationally focused. It tended not to address the business and economic issues that were significant in their audiences' everyday lives. 

The overall tone of their reporting was antagonistic towards local and regional business. Yet that antagonism was rarely if ever traced, by good investigative journalism, to a particular instance of corruption, bribery or malpractice.

And many of the young business journalists were looking to a career abroad.

We worked with the consortium on a range of core journalistic issues; cultivating and working with sources; mounting major investigations; the importance of values such as impartial investigation and independence; and developing a more locally focused agenda and style of reporting.

We also encouraged the consortium to organise a conference between themselves and business leaders to begin to build an atmosphere of critical trust - a conference for which we provided a facilitator.