The Poynter Minority Writers Workshop Seeks Applications

Opinion writing plays a vital role in explanatory, features and watchdog journalism, and is important in a thriving democracy. This four-day seminar, funded by the Association of Opinion Journalists, will foster the diversity of voices necessary in the profession and train the next generation of opinion writers from a wide spectrum of backgrounds. The seminar will focus on fact-based opinion writing — and using social media to spark a conversation — across digital and other platforms.

You’ll learn the skills to:

  • Develop and hone your arguments, presenting these arguments effectively and persuasively
  • Support your arguments using solid research and reporting
  • Strengthen your reporting skills with an emphasis on fairness and accuracy
  • Maximize your journalistic success on digital and social media platforms — using social media to build your brand, present your ideas and spark a conversation
  • Generate strong ideas for your opinion pieces, broadening your access to diverse points of view
  • Focus your ideas, developing a compelling pitch to editors

COST: This seminar is being offered at no charge to selected participants based in the United States. Slots are limited. The program sponsors will cover tuition and hotel costs. A small travel stipend will be available. More details will follow after the selection process.

Here is our proposed schedule:
THURSDAY, November 2
6:00-7:00 p.m. ~ Reception and Dinner
7:00-7:30 p.m. ~ Welcome and “The Real Me” Introductions
7:30-8:45 p.m. ~ Opinion Writing in the Digital Age ~ Keith Woods
• This session seeks inspire and emphasize the relevance of bringing diverse voices to opinion writing across all platforms.
• The session will also socialize the idea that opinion writing has expanded to blogs, social media, more personal platforms — and is often occurring outside of traditional media organizations.
• How do we have a call to arms to take this craft seriously, to do the important research and reporting that ground the pieces in fact?
8:45 p.m. ~ Adjourn

FRIDAY, November 3
8:30-10:00 a.m. ~ The Keys to Effective Opinion Writing ~ Eric Deggans
• This session focuses on the nuts and bolts of opinion writing. What ingredients do you need for an effective piece?
• How has opinion writing expanded to include analysis, perspective, personal essay, arts and cultural criticism?
• Discuss the difference between voice and opinion.
• What is the role of reporting in effective opinion writing?
• What is the role of persuasion? There’s a difference between getting your opinion out there, and actually having people listen to you.
10:00-10:15 a.m. ~ Break
10:15-11:45 a.m. ~ The Power of Social Media ~ Joy Mayer
• Use social media to build your brand, present your ideas and be part of a conversation. If you want to get people talking, how do you set the stage? How do you join conversations, and how do you start conversations?
11:45-12:00 p.m. ~ Group Photo
12:00-1:00 p.m. ~ Lunch
1:00-2:30 p.m. ~ Generating Great Ideas ~ Aisha Sultan
• This session will help the participants spark and develop an idea to write about.
• How do you get diverse ideas and broaden your access to different people?
• How do you develop ideas that break new ground? Finding angles that are fresh, that readers haven’t thought of.
2:30-2:45 p.m. ~ Break
2:45-4:00 p.m. ~ Time for Writing
• Break into four small groups; each group has a coach.
4:00-5:00 p.m. ~ Small Group Critiques ~ (Coaches: Eric, Tom Huang, Aisha, Keith)
• In their small groups, each participant will read from their draft and get feedback from the coach and the group.
5:00 p.m. ~ Adjourn

Saturday, November 4
8:30-10:00 a.m. ~ Writing the Personal Essay ~ Keith
• This session introduces the concept of writing from your own experience; it can include column writing or longer writing.
10:00-10:15 a.m. ~ Break
10:15-11:45 a.m. ~ Writing for Audio ~ Eric
• Basic and useful tips and techniques for presenting your opinion pieces and commentary on an audio platform.
11:45-12:45 p.m. ~ Lunch
12:45-2:15 p.m. ~ What is my opinion piece really about? ~ Tom
• Find the heart of your story through five focusing questions; use the focus to develop a strong pitch for your piece.
2:15-2:30 p.m. ~ Break
2:30-4:00 p.m. ~ Time for Writing
• Break into four small groups; each group has a coach.
4:00-5:00 p.m. ~ Small Group Critiques ~ (Coaches: Eric, Tom Huang, Aisha, Keith)
• In their small groups, each participant will read from their draft and get feedback from the coach and the group.
5:00 p.m. ~ Adjourn

Sunday, November 5
9:00-10:30 a.m. ~ Final Readings
• Each participant reads an excerpt from his or her piece.
10:30-11:00 a.m. ~ Evaluations
11:00-11:30 a.m. ~ Graduation and Farewells

To apply, click here.

DEADLINE: The application deadline for this program is Monday, Aug. 14. Selected applicants will be notified by e-mail after Aug. 17.

The Power of Diverse Voices workshop grew out of the Minority Writers Seminar, a collaboration between the Association of Opinion Journalists and The Poynter Institute. The original seminar ran for nearly two decades at the John Seigenthaler Center on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

Questions or need more information? Contact us at seminars@poynter.org.

Who Will Benefit:
Enrollment is open to new and mid-career journalists of color based in the United States looking to add effective opinion writing to their tool kit, as well as those building a career path toward opinion journalism. Minority journalism students, journalism educators, freelancers and opinion journalists who work online or in social media are also encouraged to apply.
http://about.poynter.org/training/in-person/dv-17
Please follow and like us:
This entry was posted in Workshop. Bookmark the permalink.