Report for America corps member Molly Born takes part in Google News Lab training at West Virginia University in January 2018.
Report for America corps members receive intensive training to prepare them for the year ahead, plus continued support and mentoring coordinated by The GroundTruth Project throughout their term of service.
This intensive training is provided at the beginning of the term by world-class editors, technologists, academics and other supporters of the future of journalism including: Google News Lab, Society of Professional Journalists, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Poynter, Maynard Institute, Solutions Journalism Network, The Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal and Online News Association. Training includes:
- Advanced use of Google Maps, Public Data Explorer, Scholar and Trends — Google News Lab
- How to find great stories in a municipal budget — CUNY Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Project
- How to engage communities in creative ways to build an audience — CUNY Social Journalism Program
- Looking for “fault lines” in communities: race, class, gender, generation and geography — Maynard Institute
- How to find fresh stories by focusing on what’s working — Solutions Journalism Network
- How to chip away at an investigation over time and how to try your hand at podcasting — The Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal
- How to connect with other journalists in your area, network and collaborate — Online News Association
Report for America will provide year-round mini-trainings and online events to help you enrich your skills and exchange notes with your fellow corps members. Topics may include: advanced audio training, what to do when you feel in danger, going from good-to-great as a writer and other topics.
Each corps member is paired with a mentor who is uniquely positioned to help them excel in their roles and who will provide continuing support throughout the year. For instance, Caity Coyne’s mentor at the Charleston News-Gazette is Eric Eyer, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of opioid dumping in West Virginia.
Over time we will develop an RFA Alumni Network that will offer additional benefits to corps members.
Report for America hosted its first training at West Virginia University’s Media Innovation Center in January 2018.
Among the training workshops: Google News Lab/Society of Professional Journalists led a session on using products like Google Public Data Explorer, Google Scholar and Google Trends for reporting and story visualizations. Trainer Samaruddin Stewart also demonstrated Google’s VR and 360-degree video capabilities. The Solutions Journalism Network led a session on its methodology for reporting on responses to problems, in addition to the problems themselves. And the City University of New York (CUNY) hosted sessions led by Carrie Brown, head of the Social Journalism Program, and Greg David, head of the Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Program.
The orientation and training, which included a “road trip” to explore the communities where the inaugural three corps members are now working in West Virginia and Kentucky, culminated with an event where Report for America co-founder Charles Sennott moderated a panel discussion with Dana Coester of 100 Days in Appalachia, Pulitzer Prize-winner Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette-Mail and Roxy Todd of Inside Appalachia.
RFA convened training for the full 2018 cohort in June in Orlando, Florida in tandem with the Investigative Reporters & Editors conference. We also worked in tandem with IRE during a weeklong training in Houston for our 2019 corps members.