The Poynter Institute and the John S and James L Knight Foundation are to develop the web-based school in addition to the traditional courses and conferences Poynter already runs.
The Knight Foundation, which has issued a $2.8 million grant, will use the money to launch and develop the online university and provide e-learning to its students. This comes as part of its Newsroom Training initiative which aims to increase schooling for journalists.
Explaining what prompted the move into online lessons, James M Naughton, President of the Poynter Institute said: "Our hope is that this approach will connect with those many journalists who don't have time for formalised training at an instructor's pace."
NewsU, as the school will be called, will also provide links to other sites useful for online journalists and will be based at www.newsu.org.
The school is expected to go live in early 2004 and will offer courses from Poynter's current curriculum covering reporting, writing, editing and online journalism.
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