The New England First Amendment Coalition recently launched a monthly educational series featuring short, practical lessons on journalism and the First Amendment.
The goal of the program — called “30 Minute Skills” — is to provide reporters and other citizens knowledge they can use immediately in newsgathering, data collection, storytelling and other areas of journalism and First Amendment law.
The lessons are provided in a 30-minute format to accommodate the demanding schedules faced by many working in New England newsrooms.
The program is free and open to the public. Registration for each lesson is required.
Instructor: Matt Byrne | Gravel & Shea
According to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, at least 85 journalists have received subpoenas since 2017. These legal orders can be intimidating and infringe on your rights as a journalists. By completing this lesson, you will learn about:
• The history of subpoenas and their legal authority.
• Arguments and strategies that can be made in response to a subpoena.
• How to advocate for yourself and newsroom when in court.
Instructor: Karin Nazish | Coalition for Women in Journalism
With newsrooms often lacking effective support systems, women journalists are regularly belittled, have their professionalism questioned and endure mistreatment strictly based on their gender. By viewing this class, you will learn about:
• The types of threats currently facing women journalists.
• How to protect yourself from online trolling.
• How to stay safe at protests and large demonstrations.
Instructor: Eli Sherman | WPRI-12 Providence
While there are encouraging signs that COVID-19 in New England is becoming less severe, telling stories using data will continue to be an important skill for journalists covering any beat. By viewing this class, you will learn about:
• How to find and obtain reliable COVID-19 data.
• How to create simple data visualizations using free online tools.
• How to identify story ideas from that data.
Instructor: Adam A. Marshall | Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, is one of the most misunderstood laws. Government officials often incorrectly cite the 25-year-old federal statute. By completing this lesson, you will learn:
• The history and purpose of HIPAA.
• Under what circumstances and to what types of entities HIPAA applies.
• How to best respond to public record denials that are incorrectly attributed to HIPAA.
Instructor: Maggie Mulvihill | NEFAC, Boston University
This is the first of two introductory lessons about collecting online data through web scraping. By viewing this class, you will learn:
• How web scraping can be helpful to data collection.
• Where to find free tools to use for web scraping.
• How to begin scraping various websites for information and data.
Instructor: Maggie Mulvihill | NEFAC, Boston University
This is the second of two introductory lessons about collecting online data through web scraping. By viewing this class, you will learn:
• Additional ways to scrape websites for information.
• How to use free online tools for web scraping.
• How to scrape data from PDF documents for use in spreadsheets.
Instructor: Elana Newman, Ph.D. | University of Tulsa, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma
After interviewing people who have suffered great loss or covering various conflicts, journalists of all backgrounds may need help coping with their own exposure to traumatic events. By viewing this class, you will be able to:
• Explain the rationale for good self-care.
• Identify areas where self-care practical tools may be necessary.
• Begin to implement specific self-care strategies or practical tools.
Instructor: Mike Hiestand | Student Press Law Center
What is or is not a FERPA record has become more consequential during the COVID-19 pandemic given the increasing demand for school data. By viewing this lesson, you will learn:
• More about the history and purpose of FERPA.
• Under what circumstances and to what types of educational institutions FERPA applies.
• How to best respond to public record denials that are incorrectly attributed to FERPA.
Instructor: Kristy Roschke | Arizona State University
In an age of information overload, finding credible sources is increasingly difficult. We’ve seen how misinformation can impact media consumers, but it can also make a journalist’s job more difficult. By attending this class, you will learn:
• Tech tips to help verify information, including reverse image searching.
• How to identify bots and other fake social media accounts.
• Where to find open-source tools to assist in digital media investigations.
Instructor: Mickey Osterreicher | National Press Photographers Association
Drones are increasingly being used by journalists to capture high-quality images and other types of data to help report important stories. By attending this class, you will learn:
• The requirements needed to begin using drones in reporting.
• The laws, regulations and ethics governing drone use.
• Additional resources to help your newsroom begin using drones for newsgathering.
Instructor: Jenifer McKim | GBH News Center for Investigative Reporting, Boston University
Thoughtless journalism can cause collateral damage to victims of trauma. Journalists must know how to cover sensitive stories without causing additional harm. By attending this class, you will learn:
• How to build trust with victims and other vulnerable sources.
• How to motivate sources to share their story in empowering ways.
• Additional resources to use when covering stories involving victims of trauma.