Online reporter 101

An intensive one-day conversion course for print, radio and TV journalists that covers training in all the essential skills needed to succeed in a digital newsroom.

Course tutor: James MurrayBook now
Date: 22 March 2013
Time: 9.30am to 5pm
Number of places: 10
Cost:£200 plus VAT
Level: This course is aimed at anyone looking to expand their online media skills or break into online journalism. You will need to be familiar with using search engines and use news websites as a source of information.

Course description

Are you looking to develop the skills needed to be an in-demand online reporter? This intensive one-day course aims to teach you the essentials – including effective online writing, the best ways to cover breaking news live, the SEO basics that will help your work rise to the top, best social media practice and many other useful techniques.

Led by a former editor of, a major television news website for New Zealand, this course focuses the skills and attributes online employers look for in a successful candidate.

Course Overview

An intensive one-day course designed to make you a well-rounded online reporter for the modern newsroom. We will cover all bases - from the best ways to write SEO-friendly but compelling headlines to a real-life case study on how to master live online reporting. Online reporter 101 will get journalists up-to-date on the latest new media techniques and strategies.

This course is aimed at journalists looking to further their careers in online-savvy newsrooms or going for that first break in the fast-paced world of website news.

Online essentials will be taught using real-life scenarios and then demonstrated through group and individual work. The final two hours are dedicated to a case study on's work on the 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

The case study will bring together all the elements learnt in the morning session and show how they applied to this major breaking news event, resulting in a story which increased website users by one million, hit the top of search engines worldwide, used innovative video techniques to show compelling footage and kept the NZ public informed during a time of crisis.

We will cover:
  • Basic SEO skills – how the right words, with a little technical know-how, can make your breaking news story the country's first port of call without turning your copy to mush.
  • Online sub-editing – effective ways to engage an online audience with your writing. Don't get hemmed in by the inverted pyramid!
  • Original content – why the internet is not the end of original journalism, why original stories get rewarded and the best way to pitch them to editors.
  • Learn how to use social media to tell a story, get people interested and raise the profile of your publication
  • The four-pronged approach to stories – how innovative use of text, video, audio and images can turn an average story into a great one.
  • The sushi effect – why modern news junkies like their information raw and the most visually satisfying ways of representing data.
  • Using your audience to crowdsource information and opinion
  • HTML – some simple knowledge to help with layout and appearance of copy.
  • Analysing website traffic so you can plan future stories, make rapid editorial decisions and work for your readership
  • Going LIVE – how to write good multimedia live updates, writing to live streaming video and why micro-cutting video clips can boost traffic.
  • Christchurch earthquake 22 February – how a strategy utilising all of the above techniques turned a medium-sized website into a major website following this major breaking news event.

About James Murray:

James MurrayJames is a journalist with four years' experience as the chief editor of, one of the most popular news websites in New Zealand. He currently works as a freelance producer with the Associated Press.

There is nothing he finds more professionally exciting than a newsroom during a big breaking news story.

James inherited as a site that relied heavily on its 6 o’clock news stories and wire copy, with 600,000 unique visitors a month. 

He transformed it into a site known for being first with breaking news, which focussed on original online journalism and innovated with video content, resulting in one million new browsers.

He is passionate about training and how new media can integrate into old, and optimistic about the future of journalism in an online world.

He believes that to be a great online journalist you have to be a great print and television journalist and vice-versa – he dreams of a day when all journalists have truly mastered these skills.
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