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Below you'll find answers to commonly asked questions.
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  • Will you send me proof of payment?

    You can print a receipt for your payment at any time. Simply log into your account with your user name and password,then go to "My NewsU." Click on the title of the course for which you need a receipt and then in the course navigation, click on "Receipt" in the line just under the title on the course home page.

    We also send a receipt to the email address in your record when you pay for a course.

  • What is News University?

    News University is one of the world's most innovative online journalism training programs ever created. From multimedia techniques to writing and reporting, we've got more than 85 free and low-cost courses. As the e-learning project of The Poynter Institute, NewsU extends Poynter’s mission as a school for journalists, future journalists and teachers of journalism.

  • Who is the audience?

    Journalists, journalism students, educators and those who are interested journalism and media. Courses at NewsU are designed for journalists at all levels of experience and in all types of media.

  • When did NewsU start?

    Our official launch was in April 2005.

  • How much does NewsU charge?

    Many courses are free, especially those that are self-directed. For courses with more faculty interaction, we try to keep our costs reasonable for both individuals and organizations with limited resources.

  • Does NewsU offer financial aid for fee-based courses?

    We know times are tight. So, thanks to several grants, we are able to offer journalists a limited number of scholarships to our Webinars and online group seminars. For details, go to www.newsu.org/scholarships.

  • What do your courses teach?

    We offer courses across the scope of journalism and media literacy: leadership and management; reporting, writing and editing; broadcast; online; ethics; visual journalism; and journalism education.

  • Do I need special software?

    No special software is needed. NewsU’s interactive learning courses are Web-based. Depending on the course, a high-speed or broadband connection might be important for the learning experience. Many of the courses, however, require the Flash player plug-in

  • What forms of e-learning do you offer?

    News University offers several kinds of e-learning: self-directed modules, online group seminars, Webinars, tutorials, seminar snapshots and technology training.

    Self-Directed Learning Modules. (In e-learning language, they’re called “asynchronous” modules.) These are the ultimate in e-learning flexibility. Participants can start and stop whenever they like, progressing entirely at their own pace and going back as many times as they want to review the material. The modules make use of interactive technology, so they're more engaging than a mere collection of Web pages.

    Online Group (or "semi-synchronous") Seminars. Participants gather in a virtual space, logging in from anywhere, day or night, over the course of several days or several weeks. A faculty member guides the group through new material, moderates discussions and provides individual feedback.

    Webinars or eSeminars ("synchronous" modules). Webinars allow you to join online presentations led by Poynter faculty and other leading industry professionals from your home, office of classroom. Not only can you see and hear these presentations, you can join the discussion—asking questions and answering questions posed by the speakers. All you need to join our virtual classroom is Internet access and a telephone line. Your registration also gives you unlimited access to the archived replay of the presentation and any additional resources.

    Broadcasts. Watch live presentations at The Poynter Institute and chat with other online participants during the live sessions. Your registration gives you access to the live event and the recorded replays of each session.

    Seminar Snapshots. These are edited video highlights and other materials that capture the key learning points of seminar presentations at The Poynter Institute or at other training events.

    Tutorials. NewsU Tutorials will help you get started with Web applications and tools. Using step-by-step instructions and screengrabs, these guides demonstrate the basics of working with these applications. You can start and stop on your own schedule and come back as often as you like.

    Technology Training. NewsU Tech is our training library to help you develop your software and technical skills. Each module in a NewsU Tech course creates software simulations that give you a feel for working in the program. Using audio, slideshows and offline activities, you'll explore how to use the software without having to buy or install any program.

    Video Tutorials. Learn as Poynter faculty teach tightly focused lessons on key journalism skills. Loaded with practical examples and instruction, each tutorial gives you tools you can put to work for you right away.

  • I cannot attend the live Webinar. Will I have access to the archived version?

    We'll have an archived replay available by 5 p.m. ET the second business day after the live session. Your registration will give you access to the replay plus our bonus resources. You can access it as often as you wish after that by logging into your account at www.newsu.org, then clicking on the title of the Webinar which will appear near the top of the home page AND on the My NewsU page. Once there, click on the links and you will be automatically redirected to the Webinar.

    This applies to any live Webinar. On the very rare occasion where we do not tape the session, we notify you in advance of purchase. We do not always market our replays to new audiences, however, so we always encourage people who are interested to purchase the live event even when they know they will not be able to attend -- just to guarantee access to the replay.

  • What is a self-directed course?

    These are the ultimate in e-learning flexibility. Choose what course you want to take, when and where you take it and how to apply what you've learned. Most self-directed courses take just an hour or two to complete. You can work on your own schedule, starting and stopping whenever you like and coming back as many times as you want to review the material. The modules make use of interactive technology, so they're more engaging than a mere collection of Web pages.

  • What is an online group seminar?

    Much like a traditional class, an online group seminar has readings, assignments, due dates and discussion forums. A faculty member guides the group through new material, moderates discussions and provides individual feedback. To create an optimal interactive learning experience for each participant, the total enrollment in an online seminar is limited.

  • How do I sign up?

    If you’re interested in joining an online group seminar, you must complete the online application and be accepted into the course. You will be notified prior to the start of the course whether you’ve been accepted and given instructions on how to pay for the course.

    If you are interested in any other type of offering, you simply click the Enroll button on the course home page and are directed to a payment screen for paid courses, or to the course itself for courses available without charge.

  • How long does it take?

    The content of online group seminars unfolds over several weeks. There are few scheduled meeting times, except for several live discussions, so you'll be able to learn on a schedule that works for you. The minimum time commitment each week generally is three to four hours.

  • How does an online group seminar work?

    Online group seminars use a variety of tools to help you sharpen your skills. Across the four weeks, you’ll find:

    * Readings - We’ve gathered the most helpful material on the topic. * Discussion areas - You’ll exchange ideas with fellow participants, faculty and other industry leaders in a series of discussion areas. E-mail alerts will help you stay up-to-date on course activity. * Interactive activities - You’ll encounter rich, self-directed activities throughout the course. * Assignments - You’ll apply what you’re learning with a range of activities to hone your skills. * Podcasts and vodcasts - A range of multimedia materials, including podcast interviews and vodcast teaching sessions, will complement the course readings.
  • What type of degree or certification do you offer?

    Poynter News University does not issue a diploma or degree. We offer certificates that can help you demonstrate your proficiency of the journalism industry's essential skills and best practices, and evaluate the skills of those who want to work with you. The types of certificates we offer are listed in the Resources section.

  • Are there any pre-requisites for self-directed courses?

    Anyone can enroll in our self-directed courses. Our Journalism Basics are typically designed for people with little or no professional background, ideal for students, the general public with an interest in journalism, or those new to the field. The Software and Technical Training modules cover the most basic through more advanced material in the same module.

  • Can several people attend a live Webinar with one registration?

    Technically, one registration for the Webinar buys one connection for the event. We do encourage our participants to gather as many people as they like around a computer or projector to watch the live event together. We recommend that you have speakers or use a good conference phone so everyone can hear the audio portion and a projector so everyone can see the screencast presentation. You also will need to determine how interactive polling questions asked during the Webinar will be answered. If you are participating with a group, we encourage you to test (http://www.newsu.org/webinartest) and enter the event early.

    Anybody wanting to join the Webinar from a different location will have to sign up individually (with their own username) and be charged per individual. Only one person can connect to the Webinar with your username. At this time, there are no discounts for groups from one organization.

  • What does it take to participate in a Webinar?

    You must have a fast and reliable Internet connection and a monitor resolution set to 1024 x 768 or higher.

    You also need Adobe’s free Flash Player. Most computers already have it installed, but if you'd like to make sure you've got the latest version of Flash, you can run a short test first, preferably before the live event is scheduled to begin. It will also tell you if you've got enough speed.

    If you fail the test, it may be because your firewall is blocking ports 1935 and 443. In order to participate in our Webinars, your IT folks will need to open one of these two ports. If this is not possible, you will not be able to participate in either the live webinar or watch the archived version as both require access to these ports.

    It is important to run the test if you have not participated in a recent NewsU Webinar using Adobe Connect. If you’re not sure, go ahead and do it anyway.

  • How can I change my personal information, including my email address or password?

    After logging into www.newsu.org with your user name and password, click on "MyNewsU." Your will see a block on the right side of the page with the "Edit My Account" link. Click on it and you can change personal data and/or your email address and password. You cannot, however, change your user name.

  • I've forgotten my log in information. Do I need to set up a new account?

    If you cannot recall your password, you can request a new one from the sign in page by going to the "Request New Password" tab. You will immediately receive a link to set up a new one, sent to the email address on record for your account.

    If you cannot recall your username, you can go to the "Request New Password" link and enter the email address associated with your account. You will receive an immediate email with a link to your account where you can go in, retrieve your user name and set a new password.

  • I did not receive a confirmation to my registration on your site.

    It may be the our original email with the confirmation link was stopped by your spam filter. Please check your deleted items and/or junk mailbox to see if it might be there. Also, please configure your system to allow email from the domain: newsu.org. In the meantime, you can email info@newsu.org to ask us to temporarily assign a password (tell us what you want us to use) and we will do so and let you know it is done. Then you will have to log into your account, navigate to My NewsU and then to Edit My Account to change the password. The NewsU Crew does not have access to your password information unless you give it to us.

  • How do I pay for News University courses?

    To purchase a Webinar, Online Group Seminar, Workshop or other course, simply log into your account at www.newsu.org with your user name and password, then click on the title of the course. You will find an Enroll button in the dark box on the right side. Click on it and then on the Checkout button. We accept payment by credit card or PayPal. Enter the name and address applicable to your credit card or PayPal account, then the biling information (if you have a Promo Code or Gift Certificate Number, enter it on this page, below your billing information but above the credit card number) and click on Review Order. If all is correct, click Submit. As soon as the transaction is approved by the bank, you will be able to print a receipt from that page.

    If you are paying by P-card, you would enter the same information as above. Some P-cards have institutional blocks that prevent you from using them on our site. If your P-card transaction is denied, please contact the issuing bank for assistance.

    If you do not have a credit card, we will accept payment PayPal instead of check or wire transfer.

  • How can I get a receipt for payment?

    Click on the name of the course for which you need the receipt. There will be a link called "Receipt" just under the course title. When you click on it, a receipt will appear.

  • My students are complaining they are not able to complete their registration on your site.

    They are not able to complete their registration if they are using email addresses that block incoming mail from the domain newsu.org. If they are using personal email addresses, they should have no problem receiving the confirmation email.

    If you are a k-12 instructor who assigns NewsU courses to your students, you can request a class code prior to making the assignment. This option is available only for middle and high school students only. Go to https://www.newsu.org/request-class-code and complete the form. We will email you a code to give to your students. They will enter this code at the very end of the NewsU registration page to solve this problem.

  • I forgot my user name.

    If you forgot your user name, click the link to "Request New Password." Once there, you will be able to enter your email address. As long as you enter the same email address that is tied to your account, you will be sent a message with the subject "Replacement log-in information for YOUR USER NAME at Poynter's News University." It will also contain a link allowing a one-time log-in good for 24 hours.

  • How do I get on your mailing list?

    The best way to guarantee that you receive the information you want is to register as a Poynter's News University user. Registration is free and takes just a few minutes to fill out a profile and click a link in a confirmation email message. The profile is used to target marketing emails so be sure to indicate the items that best match your needs and interests. You can select as many, or few, boxes as you wish.

  • Is the ViewPoynt survey confidential?

    No. Poynter uses on-the-record responses in its programs, though some organizations using ViewPoynt feedback have opted for anonymous responses.

  • How do I choose which colleagues should complete a ViewPoynt survey about me?

    Ask a variety of people—including your peers, your supervisor, co-workers in other departments and people you might supervise. The colleagues you choose should represent a variety of roles in your organization. The more diverse the feedback, the more understanding you'll gain of your strengths and challenges, and precisely what your colleagues need more of--or less of--from you.

  • Will my ViewPoynt survey responses be confidential?

    No. Poynter uses on-the-record responses in its programs, though some organizations using ViewPoynt feedback have opted for anonymous responses.

  • What kinds of questions are in the survey?

    The ViewPoynt survey contains questions custom-tailored to your role and your organization. ViewPoynt questions ask for narrative answers. Rather than giving a number or letter grade on your performance, your colleagues will be asked to write detailed descriptions, and they may provide examples or anecdotes and suggest advice. The Poynter Institute has been using this narrative feedback form in its leadership and other programs for over ten years, and it has been rated by participants as extraordinarily helpful to their professional development.

  • What happens when I get my results?

    ViewPoynt feedback is collected and given to the participants in a workshop setting, by a trained facilitator, and is always accompanied by assistance in interpreting the trends in the data, as well as personal coaching.

  • What does ViewPoynt measure?

    ViewPoynt surveys are feedback not designed to measure objective standards such as attendance, technical skills or basic job performance. It helps seminar participants understand their strengths and challenges, and precisely what their colleagues need more of or less of from them. It fuels successful communication, collaboration and performance management in organizations. Feedback recipients gain insight into how others perceive them and have an opportunity to adjust behaviors and develop skills that will enable them to excel at their jobs.

  • What is a Webinar?

    Webinars allow you to join online presentations led by Poynter faculty and other leading industry professionals from your home, office of classroom. Not only can you see and hear these presentations, you can join the discussion—asking questions and answering questions posed by the speakers. All you need to join our virtual classroom is Internet access and a telephone line. Your registration also gives you unlimited access to the archived replay of the presentation and any additional resources.

    You’ll see a slide presentation and hear the instructor's voice through your computer's speakers. (If your hardware or bandwidth isn't up to the task, you can use your phone to hear the instructor via teleconference.) The instructor advances the slides throughout the presentation.

    During the broadcast, you'll see a Q&A panel on the screen where you can post questions or comments. Our host shares as many questions with the presenter and the broadcast audience as time permits. You can also respond to poll questions posted by the host.

  • How will I access a Webinar?

    We send out a reminder notice about noon Eastern time the day of a live Webinar. It will tell you to log in to your account at www.newsu.org with your username and password, click on the title of the Webinar which will appear near the top of the home page AND on the My NewsU page. Once there, click on the links and you will be automatically redirected to the Webinar.

    If you enrolled in the live event and missed it, you will have automatic access to the replay as soon as we make it available on our site. We commit to making the replay available by the end of the 2nd business day after a live Webinar. Log in to your account at www.newsu.org with your username and password, click on the title of the Webinar which will appear near on the My NewsU page. Once there, click on the links and you will be automatically redirected to the Webinar.

    If you enrolled in a Replay only, click on the title of the Webinar which will appear near the top of the home page AND on the My NewsU page. Once there, click on the links and you will be automatically redirected to the Webinar.

  • What is the certificate program at Poynter's News University?

    The certificate program is designed to measure the successful completion and understanding of a segment of NewsU training.

  • What are Poynter NewsU Training Points?

    Training Points from Poynter's NewsU are our way of saying thank you for joining the Poynter NewsU community. You earn Training Points every time you take a course, watch a Webinar or join in other e-learning at NewsU. You can redeem your points for Webinars, software training, video tutorials and more. Our rewards give you something in return: Training Points you can use for more of the great e-learning you find at NewsU.

  • How do I earn a certificate?

    To receive a certificate, you must take the NewsU courses associated with that certificate program and then successfully complete an online assessment for each course. The courses included in a certificate are listed on the certificate enrollment page.

  • How do I earn Training Points?

    Every time you join in the e-learning at NewsU--by enrolling in a course, telling a friend about our training or sharing a syllabus--you earn points. Just by registering on the site, you earn 100 points. When you sign up for a Webinar or other fee-based courses at NewsU, you'll earn points based on a percentage of how much you spend. Tell your friends about the training at NewsU using the "Tell a friend" button in any course, and you'll get 50 points.

    You do NOT earn points for the amount of discounts or other financial assistance for a course. For example, if you use a promo code that reduces the price, you earn points only on the reduced cost. And, of course, you do not earn points when you pay for a course or product with points.

  • When do I get my certificate?

    When you have passed all the assessments in a certificate program track, you will get instructions on how to download the certificate.

  • How many Training Points do I earn?
    • You earned 100 points the day we started the program or the day you registered as a user with News University.
    • You earn 100 points each time you upload a syllabus to the Syllabus Exchange.
    • You earn 5 points for every dollar you charge to your credit card for courses or products at www.newsu.org.
  • How do I know whether I passed?

    You must score at least 80 percent to pass each assessment. Your score will appear on the screen once you've answered the final question in the assessment.

  • When can I begin earning Training Points?

    You start earning points when you register at Poynter's NewsU. If you're already registered, we've given you 100 points. We've also awarded points based on training you've purchased since August 2010.

  • What happens if I don't pass?

    You have three chances to pass each assessment. Your certificate page will show your status on each assessment as you work through the program.

  • How many Training Points can I earn?

    There’s no limit to the number of points you can earn. Here's an overview of how you earn points:

    • You earned 100 points the day we started the program or the day you registered as a user with News University.
    • You earn 50 points when you tell your colleagues and friends about our e-learning using the "Tell a Friend" button in any course
    • You earn 100 points each time you upload a syllabus to the Syllabus Exchange.
    • You earn 5 points for every dollar you charge to your credit card for courses or products at www.newsu.org.
  • What's included in the assessment?

    Each assessment contains about 15-20 multiple-choice and true-false questions. You'll have 30 minutes to complete each assessment and you can monitor your time as you work through the questions. You'll get one question on a page, with minimal distractions. The questions are based on the content of the course, so study hard.

  • Will my Training Points expire?

    Once you earn a Training Point, it is yours to use. Your points never expire.

  • Can I see my results?

    We will give you the results as soon as you complete an assessment, but we won't tell you which answers were correct or incorrect. This is different from the quizzes and activities in our courses, in which you can learn from all the answers. The assessment is designed to measure your proficiency with the course content.

  • How do I keep track of my Training Points?

    You can check your points status by clicking on My NewsU. You'll see your current status in the blue box on that page. You'll also see your balance on the Check-Out Page for every purchase. You can choose to apply points to your purchase or you can save them for a later training event. You can redeem a few at a time, or you can save them and apply them for the full cost of a training module. You'll be able to choose how many you want to use on the Check-Out Page for every purchase.

  • Do I have to take the assessments in order?

    Once you've enrolled in a certificate track, you may take the assessments at any time and in any order. It doesn't matter which assessment, or which course, you take first. When you pass all the assessments, you will receive your certificate.