The Community Journalism Series: Strategies for Managing Local Contributors

Course Overview

The Community Journalism Series: Strategies for Managing Local Contributors
Self-Directed Course
Time Estimate:
2-3 Hours

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

For years, newspapers have worked with user-generated content (UGC) in the form of letters to the editor and similar contributions. Now, news organizations of all shapes and sizes are grappling with a dizzying array of community-written content. Non-staffers are publishing things such as full-length stories, blog posts and multimedia content.

This trend provides new opportunities for your publication to engage with audiences, spotlight new voices and address under-covered topics and communities.

However, it also presents new challenges in the areas of managing workflow and maintaining credibility and editorial control.

Strategies for Managing Local Contributors, part of our Community Journalism Series, will give you the foundation you need to build a successful UGC initiative. We've also developed a companion course, "The Community Journalism Series: Contributing to a Local Publication," that you can use to train citizen contributors. That course introduces basic skills that community contributors should have in writing, editing, interviewing and producing multimedia. We've also included an assessment on those topics, so you can vet potential contributors.

These courses will give you the tools you need to develop a strategy for building a UGC initiative, training your contributors and measuring your success.

What Will I Learn:

After completing this course, you'll be able to:

  • Identify which kinds of community contributions might work best in your news organization
  • Devise a specific plan for introducing community content onto your site
  • Develop a plan to recruit and train contributors that includes directing them to the contributor track of this course
Who should take this course:

This course is for editors and managers, especially those at community publications. It is also helpful for anyone looking for new ways to engage audiences — online and in print.

Course Instructor:

Mark J. Miller

Mark J. Miller has written for American Journalism Review, Presstime, Crain's BtoB's Media Business, Folio: magazine and Digital Magazine News as well as Glamour, Details, The Washington Post,, Sports Illustrated for Kids and Runner's World, among many others.

Training Partner:

Suburban Newspapers of America Foundation

The Suburban Newspapers of America Foundation focuses on suburban and community newspapers and supports their role as the leading local information providers, helping them identify and better fulfill future communication needs in changing communities.

Technical Requirements:

For this course you will need to have at least version 7.0 of the Flash plugin installed. For the best experience, we suggest that:

  • PC users use Internet Explorer or Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox
  • Mac users use Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox or Safari
  • You set your monitor resolution to 1024 x 768 or higher
  • You use a high-speed connection