Goals of the Specialized Reporting Institute Program

Through its Specialized Reporting Institute Program, the McCormick Foundation hopes to:

  • Identify key sources and resources on a topic of local, regional, national or international interest
  • Develop story ideas for today, tomorrow and as the story develops, even six months or a year later
  • Enable reporters to meet like-minded colleagues for tips and support, during the training and beyond
  • Build confidence for those new to the topic and help those more familiar to see new possibilities
  • Provide training and professional development to reporters working for smaller organizations, including community and ethnic media, often in small to mid-sized markets
  • Serve a diverse group of participants, both in types of journalist (print, broadcast, online, blogger) and types of news outlet (ethnic media, mainstream, nonprofit). Speakers also should be diverse.
  • Use technology to extend the reach of the training, preserving lessons learned, tips and takeaways to extend beyond the workshop and engage others.
  • Foster a sense of community within each SRI. SRI hosts might use social media, live online chats (before, during or after an SRI), webinars, community forums, Google Groups or listservs and other means to build relationships among SRI participants.
  • Equip participants and virtual learners with tools and resources they can carry with them throughout their career.
  • Carry out evaluations and assessments to measure the impact of the training.
  • Share the learning with the academic world. By engaging at least one academic as an SRI participant, McCormick hopes that SRIs will generate curriculum materials and additional teaching and learning on the topic.
  • Extend the learning, with new tools and technology and by urging newsroom participants to host training for colleagues when they return home.