NewsU Recommended Training

Poynter's News University extends the Poynter Institute's mission as a school for journalists, future journalists, teachers of journalism and anyone interested in the craft and values of the field. NewsU stands for a journalism that informs citizens and enlightens public discourse. It promotes leadership, success and integrity.

With over 250,000 registered users, NewsU has become one of the world's most innovative online journalism and media training programs. NewsU offers more than 300 free or low-cost courses, from multimedia techniques to writing and reporting.

Level 1

Below are 15 NewsU courses for journalists who are new to the practice or anyone interested in journalism. The courses are free unless marked otherwise.


  • News Sense: The Building Blocks of News
    News Sense explores the basic building blocks of news stories. You’ll examine the who, what, when, where, why and how of events and see how the answers to those questions shape news coverage. You’ll get a chance to apply what you’ve learned through interactive games and quizzes throughout the course.
  • The Interview
    This module will teach you what you need to know about being a better interviewer and allow you to put those lessons into practice as you learn. With the aid of a virtual coach and a typical encounter with a not entirely forthcoming source, you'll have the chance to see firsthand how the kinds of questions you pose can stop or start an effective interview.
  • Introduction to Reporting: Beat Basics
    This course will help you identify the key issues and sources on your beat, learn how to determine what’s included in your beat and develop the resources to focus your coverage. This course will help you confidently approach reporting and writing the first stories off your new beat.
  • Core Skills for the 21st Century Journalist
    In this Webinar, Poynter's Howard Finberg and Lauren Klinger will discuss the findings about the value that journalists, educators and others place on 37 key skills, attributes and knowledge areas.
  • Journalism Fundamentals: Craft and Values
    In this course, you'll learn the foundational concepts for reporting, writing, editing and producing multimedia. You'll also gain insight into how journalists think and make editorial decisions.
  • The Lead Lab
    The lead of a story makes a promise to the reader of good things to come. Do you deliver on that promise every time you write a lead? Have you ever wondered how to craft better leads? This course is here to help.
  • Introduction to Sports Reporting ($29.95)
    There are advantages to understanding a particular sport, but ultimately a sports reporter needs to find the storyline and write the story in a way that brings the reader to the event. You'll learn how to approach each and every sport assignment with a pre, during and post event process that will help you assess and master the story on deadline.
  • Beyond the Inverted Pyramid: Creating Alternative Story Forms
    "Beyond the Inverted Pyramid" will teach you how to break down information by theme and organize stories to make them snappy and more useful to time-crunched readers. With a focus on the importance of newsroom collaboration, this course showcases a range of supplemental and standalone forms, demonstrates what forms work best with what story ideas and provides techniques for editing alternative forms for factual errors and other problematic copy.
  • Beat: Writing Obituaries
    Because obituaries are the lasting record of a person’s life, it’s vital that you get the story right. This course will provide you with the tools you need to write engaging, informative and accurate obituaries.
  • Math for Journalists: Help with Numbers
    Explore several of the most important math tools that journalists encounter — and have fun doing it. Along the way, you’ll find a range of resources to give you additional learning support. Quizzes, activities, interactive activities and games — complete with high-score boards — offer fun ways to learn the math basics that every journalist needs to know.
  • Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More
    Mistakes in grammar, spelling and style are like coffee stains on a shirt. Readers notice. And those mistakes will eat away at your credibility as a journalist. This self-directed course will help you understand the basics of grammar, spelling, punctuation and AP style.
  • The Be a Reporter Game
    In the United States, where anyone can write about the news, it’s important to understand how and why journalists do what they do. "Be A Reporter," a game developed for an audience of all ages, helps you understand some of the basics of how journalists probe, clarify, verify and race against a deadline.


  • Language of the Image
    Just like stories, there are reasons that some photos are successful and others fall short. Good photographers look for good quality of light, juxtaposition, a point of entry, mood, emotion, and a sense of place in order to best tell the story visually. This course introduces terms that help develop a visual vocabulary, leading to improved photographs and more constructive discussions of images.


  • Typography for News Design
    Typography sets the tone and voice for your publication. In this course, you’ll examine the basic principles of typography and learn the vocabulary to communicate effectively about type in your design.
  • Color in News Design
    Color, contrast and dimension play key roles in visual journalism. Each color imbues a unique mood or emotional overtone. Color in News Design will show you how the visual elements of color, contrast and dimension complement the written word.

Level 2

Below are 15 NewsU courses aimed at expanding knowledge of reporting, photography, design and ethics. Each of the courses is free unless marked otherwise. 


  • On the Beat: Covering the Courts
    The courts and the U.S. legal system affect virtually every area of American life. In this course you will learn about court beat coverage: understanding and explaining legal jargon, developing sources, finding records and telling a story with depth and accuracy while maintaining sensitivity to the people involved.
  • On the Beat: Covering Hospitals
    Using an innovative simulation, you're put in the role of a rookie health beat reporter. You'll investigate local hospitals on deadline, working with your editor to find the focus of your story and craft the lead. You’ll tap into the same tools that you use on the job, and you’ll have a virtual mentor to walk you through the maze of reports, statistics and sources connected to each hospital.
  • On the Beat: Covering Education
    This course will teach you how to gain a better understanding of the public education system in the United States. In it, you will explore everything from how to gain access to a classroom to why the power structures are the way they are to where money comes from — and where it goes. And, most important, why it all matters.
  • On the Beat: Covering Cops and Crime
    If journalism is about telling stories, then the crime beat should be the best in the business because it offers great narratives. Almost every news event on the beat features heroes and villains, scoundrels and victims. In this course, you’ll learn how to navigate the beat and tell stories with context and authority.
  • Lousy Listeners: How to Avoid Being One
    When you’re a better listener, you’re a better journalist and a better leader in the newsroom. In this course, you learn how to break bad listening habits and what can make a good listener even better. You can even take a self-assessment to determine how good a listener you are.


  •  Community Service Photojournalism: Contest Lessons Part 1
    This course presents the work honored by American Society of News Editors as the best community service photojournalism of 2005. You will analyze the work of ASNE winner Carol Guzy, of The Washington Post, and finalists Robert Gauthier, of the Los Angeles Times, and Manny Crisostomo, of The Sacramento Bee.
  • Community Service Photojournalism: Contest Lessons Part 2
    This course presents the work honored by the American Association of Newspaper Editors as the best community service photojournalism of 2006. It examines four approaches to community service photojournalism: localizing stories, watchdog photojournalism, connecting with under-covered communities and commentary through photo columns.
  • Best of Photojournalism: What Makes a Winner
    Go behind the scenes of the NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism 2006 contest. You can also tour a gallery of work that was honored in more than 25 categories of still photography, including best photo story and photojournalist of the year. Then take what you've learned and try your hand at judging in the “You Be the Judge” activity, and see how well you can recognize the winning aspects of a photograph.


  • Layout-Driven Editing: A Seminar Snapshot
    Margaretha Engström, the publisher of two small papers in Sweden, converted to layout-driven systems in which pages are constructed using pre-determined templates -- and reporters and photographers are responsible for posting their work in the layout. She outlines the benefits she sees in streamlining newsroom production in this Seminar Snapshot.
  • 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. Along the way, you'll collect the info you'll need to create an action plan for your newsroom.
  • Functional Web Design for Today’s New Audiences
    Creating a news and information website that effectively attracts readers and then keeps them coming back is daunting. This course will provide a no-nonsense guide to making your site easy to use. Whether you plan to improve an existing site or create a new one, this course will help guide your steps.


  • Copyright Law and Fair Use for Journalists
    This course is intended to help online content publishers, social media participants and website publishers understand the fair use doctrine and copyright law. This course addresses legal issues in a practical way. It explains how fair use applies in the digital space, as there is a lack of guidance offered by existing case law.
  • Ethics of Journalism
    This course is designed to give you the techniques and tools you need to confront complex and complicated ethical issues, make difficult decisions and support those decisions with clear and rational thought.
  • Handling Race and Ethnicity
    The question of whether and how to include racial and ethnic descriptions in news stories is one of the most debated and least understood topics of journalism. In this course, you’ll examine your own assumptions about race and ethnicity. You’ll learn how to discuss the issue with awareness, skill, care, thoughtfulness and critical thinking.
  • The New Ethics of Journalism: A Guide for the 21st Century
    As the practice of journalism has evolved dramatically, the language we use to describe our ethical values has remained static. This Webinar will guide you through a new framework for ethical decision-making--helping you address and adjust to the changing expectations brought about by the evolution of technology and audience consumption habits.

    Contact Information

    3601 N. Lincoln Blvd.
    Oklahoma City, OK 73105

    (405) 499-0020
    (888) 815-2672

    Toll-Free in OK