JWF Fellowships to the Poynter Institute for Print, Broadcast and Online News JournalistsPoynter Experience
Reports from:Elaine O'Connor
I attended the 2013 Poynter Institute course, Secrets of Great Enterprise Reporting. It was a career highlight.
Session attendees spent a week learning from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists and narrative reporting experts -- a rare opportunity.
The sessions were both inspirational and practical -- attendees left both with new goals and new tools to achieve them.
Much of the material focused on craft and high-level writing philosophies. We learned techniques for building stronger characters and compelling scenes, ways of writing for action, and tips for imbuing stories with deeper human themes and meaning.
These sessions were designed to help break reporters out of the tired inverted pyramid and help them find the heart of a story, then tell it in a way that actually connects with readers.
There were also excellent technical sessions on finding narratives in computer assisted reporting projects, on mastering the art of the interview, on mining for telling details, and on generating enterprise reporting ideas.
We learned tips for structuring long feature and investigative pieces via story mapping, tightening copy to improve language and readability, and organizing vast amounts of research into a cohesive and concise whole.
Attending the Poynter Institute was also an unparalleled networking opportunity. I met more than a dozen dedicated journalists and communications specialists from across the U.S., and from as far away as Finland, Denmark and Australia. Their jobs spanned print, radio and television -- there was even an attendee from NASA. Their diverse perspectives contributed an additional layer of learning.
Attending the Secrets of Great Enterprise Reporting Poynter Institute course was an unforgettable experience.
It was a lot of work and a lot of learning, but also a lot of fun.
I would recommend it to any B.C. journalist interested in stepping back to consider their work and role as a journalist apart from the daily churn of news-gathering, with the goal of refreshing their skills, honing their craft, and recommiting to telling memorable stories that matter.