These workshops teach basic-to-advanced reporting skills as a tune-up for professional journalists, and as a primer for citizens striving to meet professional standards in their blogs, community news sites and other forms of Internet journalism.

Workshops are customized to meet individual needs, but usually are given in one-day or two-day sessions, or in weekly evening sessions over several weeks.

A typical full workshop syllabus covers the following topics, with different elements expanded or shrunk depending on the class:

Section One: Basic Reporting
    • What is News?
    • Building a Story Idea List
    • Making a Reporting Plan
    • The Three Main Sources of Information

Section Two: Basic Story Structure
    • The Four Boxes
    • The Foundations of Journalistic Credibility
    • The Building Blocks: Statistics, Quotes, Anecdotes
    • Leads, Middle Sections, Endings

Section Three: Interviews & Quotes
    • The Art of Interviewing
    • Interviewing for Story
    • Asking for Quotes vs. Asking for Information
    • When to Quote, When to Paraphrase

Section Four: Writing With Style
    • The Top Ten Best Writing Tips of All Time
    • Informing vs. Entertaining
    •
When is Using the First Person Okay?
    • Good Reporting is the Basis of Good Writing
    • Clarity is the Ultimate Virtue

Section Five: Issues, Trends, and Investigations
    • Personalizing Issue and Trend Stories
    • Advanced Story Structures: Analysis, Profiles, Long Narratives
    • Investigative Reporting Techniques
    • Photographs, Graphics, Multimedia

Section Six: How to Write an Opinion Piece
    • Persuading vs. Informing
    • Basic Persuasion Techniques
    • Building Credibility in Opinion Pieces
    • Researching Opinion Pieces

Citizen Journalism Training

A special workshop is taught to citizens wishing to learn journalistic skills for their blogs, podcasts, and other Internet formats. These classes usually include visits from working professional journalists, and guided readings to familiarize students with issues and trends in the news media today, especially the threat to democracy created by the decline of newspapers, news magazines, and other journalistic institutions. The Largemouth Citizen's Journalism Manual, written by Douglas McGill, is used in citizen journalism workshops worldwide.

The Largemouth Founder and Teacher – Douglas McGill

Douglas McGill was a staff reporter at The New York Times from 1979 to 1989, and a Bloomberg News bureau chief in London and Hong Kong from 1992 to 1997. Since 2000, he has worked as a freelance reporter from his home in Rochester, Minnesota, and as a journalism and media studies professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN; at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs in Minneapolis. He has taught workshops and presented at seminars at the Poynter Institute in Sarasota, Florida; at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and for numerous non-profit organizations in the Midwest. His journalism is published at The McGill Report, and he also maintains a journalism ethics blog called The Journalist and the Buddha.

To contact Douglas McGill: doug@mcgillreport.org