Can’t afford a traditional journalism course? Don’t despair, there are some great resources out there.

Journalism is changing – but that’s nothing new. Since the birth of the printing press, this fast-paced industry been in a state of constant flux.

The 20th century saw a huge shift in terms of who could become a journalist – with class and wealth a major factor. Where once school-leavers could join their local paper as apprentices, by the year 2000 journalism had become almost exclusively the preserve of the university educated. And with unpaid internships key to gaining vital work experience, those with bills to pay have a hard time even getting a foot on the ladder.

As a result, it’s increasingly difficult for poorer students to enter the journalism profession, which means fewer journalists with an understanding of the complex issues facing the less well off – and therefore society as a whole. It’s hard to speak to a whole community if you only understand the middle-class part of it.

But in the past decade there’s been something of a revolution. Increasingly, communities are taking news into their own hands and starting up their own papers, magazines and websites. We at Hastings Independent Press (HIP) are proud to be one of them. These organisations are opening up journalism to anyone who wants to get involved.

One of the biggest challenges for HIP and other organisations like us is training our volunteers. Many of our contributors have no formal journalism training, and no experience in running an organisation, fundraising, or keeping accounts. We run on a shoestring, so we can’t buy in trainers or send our people on courses.

We’re getting very skilled at seeking out opportunities, however, and rather than keep them to ourselves we want to let as many people know as possible. Let’s skill up, take control, teach each other and reclaim our media for the good of our community.

Online courses

Community Journalism: Digital and Social Media
Provided by Cardiff University’s Centre for Community Journalism
Starts 8th Feb, continues for 5 weeks, and will take about 4 hours a week to complete.
The course is free, but if you want a certificate at the end that costs £34.

Introduction to Journalism
Provided by the University of Strathclyde
Starts 28th March, continues for 6 weeks, and will take about 4 hours a week to complete.
The course is free, but if you want a certificate at the end that costs £34.

Local workshops

Making meetings better: a facilitation workshop for people involved in social change
Provided by Turning the Tide, the Quaker nonviolence programme, at the request of Hastings Green Party
Sunday 21st Feb, 2pm-5pm at the White Rock Hotel, Hastings

HIP’s own skill-sharing sessions

These sessions are by our volunteers, for our volunteers – so why not come along and get involved? They’re all held at Hastings Works on Robertson Street, from 7.30pm-8.30pm on Mondays.

  • Feb 8th – Crowdfunding workshop for HIP
  • Feb 15th – Induction for new recruits + upskilling for section eds + then to the pub
  • Feb 22nd – Talk: “How I got The Sun to print a front-page apology”
  • Feb 29th – Introduction to journalism law
  • March 7th – How to do a good interview
  • March 14th – Induction for new recruits + upskilling for section eds + then to the pub
  • March 21st – Introduction to news photography
  • April 4th – Introduction to political writing
  • April 11th – Induction for new recruits + upskilling for section eds + then to the pub
  • April 18th – Reflect back on 2016’s meetings/sessions so far, and plan the next batch

We’ve also been contacted by the Centre of Investigative Journalism at Goldsmiths University, who hope to be able to offer us some free training in investigative journalism – so watch this space. Whenever we find out about courses or resources that may be helpful to others interested in community journalism, we’ll make sure we share them with you. And in turn, if you know of any we’re not aware of, please get in touch.