NEWTON, Kan.—Kansas Publishing Ventures (KPV) is launching a new, online learning platform geared toward small community newspapers called “Earn Your Press Pass.”
The course’s goal is to take a person in a small community who has solid reading and writing skills and give them the basic journalism background to help them become a solid reporter at a newspaper.
“The labor shortage is real, and finding former journalists or recent journalism school graduates to move to smaller communities is nearly impossible,” KPV majority owner Joey Young said. “The purpose of the course is to give the basics to a solid candidate who just needs a little bit of training to make for a good reporter candidate.”
Lindsey Young, co-owner of KPV, is teaching the course and is uniquely qualified to do so as a former high school journalism and public speaking teacher for over 10 years. She joined Kansas Publishing Ventures full-time in 2016 but was involved since Joey and Lindsey purchased their first community newspaper, The Clarion, in 2014.
“I wanted to create something that feels more like a conversation with a well-informed friend than a traditional class,” Lindsey said. “There aren’t any homework assignments or quizzes. Instead, the ‘test’ for Earn Your Press Pass users will be becoming a part of their community newspaper and writing about local issues.”
As someone who has both a teaching background and practical real-world application, Lindsey is able to give the basics to a potential hire so an overworked newsroom doesn’t have to take the time to do it.
“We needed a on-demand solution,” Joey said. “So we came up with what we would want a new hire to know, and Lindsey started working on the curriculum.”
The course outlines basics like newspaper jargon, interviewing skills, editing, simple photography, etc.
“My hope is that people who go through the course will come out the other side with all the fundamentals and a list of questions for their editor or publisher so they can have meaningful, well-informed discussions about expectations and the nuances of their own community,” Lindsey said.
The service is already available to all members of the Kansas Press Association as of Sept. 1. The goal is to sell the service to other press associations as a member benefit so all member newspapers can use the class for free.
“There will be an individual, one-time fee for someone who just wants to go through the class, but the main goal is to provide this as a member benefit so newspapers don’t have to worry about the cost,” Joey said. “That is why we are targeting press associations and other member-based organizations first.”
The cost for a state association to provide this service is $2,000/year ($167 a month), which will provide unlimited access to members of their association. State associations can request specialized lessons for a small, additional fee.
For more information and to check out the site, visit earnyourpresspass.com. If you are an executive director of a state press association and want more information contact Joey at: firstname.lastname@example.org.