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News gathering and reporting

Guardian Masterclasses

Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 5:00 PM (GMT)

News gathering and reporting

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Event Details

This weekend is about the news - why a story is a story, how stories emerge, why some live longer than others and how each newspaper deals with the same story in a different way.

The two days will detail every aspect of the news and give a clear understanding of how a story may start from a discreet phone call or an off-the-cuff remark and develop into a front page piece.

The essentials of newspaper journalism will be dealt with - from writing that vital first paragraph to capture the attention of the reader to drawing out details from a reluctant interviewee.

The weekend will culminate in a workshop which will recreate the pressures of a working newsroom to allow everyone to use the skills they have learned over the weekend.

Over eight classes in two days, this course will give an insight to everyone - from those who have a passing interest in the news to people who deal with journalists every day - about how a newspaper works from the first call of the morning to the final page being sent to the printers.

Course description

The course covers all the major elements of how the news originates and develops. The classes will include:

    • The basics – what goes on the news pages, why some facts are more important than others and the crucial 'W's – who, why, when, where and what
    • How the newsroom works – from the early morning headlines to a sub-editor pressing send on the last page of the evening, what it takes to be on the front line of journalism
    • How to do an interview – Guardian reporter Alexandra Topping tells why doorstepping a politician is different to listening respectfully to a tale of hardship and suffering
    • The web of news – why some stories run and run while others just shrivel up and die after one appearance 
    • How to write – reporter and editor Peter Walker shows how to write clear, concise copy and illustrates why simplicity and clarity are vital when it comes to the news
    • The structures of reporting – all of the ways that stories emerge and why there will never be a blank page 
  • The practical – experience a working newsroom in operation as we write up a simulated breaking news story using tweets, leaks, spokespeople, wire feeds and anonymous tips

This course is for you if...

    • You're considering or beginning a career as a journalist and want an inoduction to the key skills, personnel and practices of hard news reporting
    • You're a freelance journalist looking for experience of a working newsroom
  • You're a non-journalist who's interested in the cycle of how news is uncovered, investigated and reported

 Tutor profiles

Shane Hickey is a current affairs journalist covering events in London for a number of Irish newspapers as well as freelancing for the Guardian and the Observer. He was a senior staff reporter with the Irish Independent newspaper in Dublin where he worked across both the news and business desks before he moved to London. He has a broad range of experience covering finance and news beats as well as working on a newsdesk and is a regular contributor to various radio shows.

Peter Walker has been a journalist for 15 years and is a news reporter for the Guardian. He previously worked for the Press Association and Agence France-Presse in London, Beijing, Hong Kong and Paris, and freelanced for CNN and the BBC, among others. He has also reported from countries including North Korea, Iraq and Kosovo, worked as a news editor and covered politics, business and education news. At the Guardian he also runs the popular Bike Blog.

Alexandra Topping started her career as in intern at the Washington Post in Paris and then moved to the paper's London bureau before joining the Guardian. A roving reporter with a strong interest in social justice, she covers a range of topics including poverty, women's rights, drugs and social unrest. She has a keen interest in multimedia content and enjoys creating and fronting video reportage. Recently, she has been the lead reporter for the Guardian's #endFGM campaign.


Dates: Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 March 2014
Times: 10am-5pm. Check-in begins 30 minutes before the start time.
Location: The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU
Price: £399 (includes VAT, booking fee, lunch and refreshments)
Event capacity: 15
Dress code: There is no dress code for Masterclasses. Please dress however you feel comfortable.

To contact us, click here. Terms and conditions can be found here.

Returns policy
Tickets may be refunded if you contact us at least 7 days before the course start date. Please see our terms and conditions for more information on our refund policy.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

Have questions about News gathering and reporting? Contact Guardian Masterclasses

When & Where

The Guardian
Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9GU London
United Kingdom

Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 5:00 PM (GMT)

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Guardian Masterclasses

Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.

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News gathering and reporting
London, United Kingdom Events Class

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