12-week Certificate Course in Community Journalism
The scheme is for people who wish to improve their research, interviewing and writing skills.
Start dates: The start of each academic term: Monday 12 September 2022, Monday 9 January 2023, Monday 18 April 2023.
Apply to: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your CV and why you want to apply. Please mention any connection you have with Tower Hamlets or Newham.
Develop essential journalism skills in researching, interviewing, and writing.
Learn how to use journalism to support and strength the local community.
Benefit from the leads, contacts and opportunities we can offer as the leading local publisher.
About the Community Journalism course
This is a twelve-week course that will train you to write impactful stories about the local community under the guidance and tutelage of editors at Social Streets.
Good journalism changes things. Learn the skills needed to give impartial, accurate, and revelatory content at a local level, where it matters most to the ordinary person.
Community journalism helps strengthen local communities, encouraging greater participation in local democracy and the local economy as well as increasing awareness and tolerance of the cultures and lived experiences of those living within our neighbourhoods.
The course runs for twelve weeks:
- An introduction to community journalism (cultural considerations, constructive journalism)
- How to find local stories
- Mobile photography and videos, photoessays, reviewing photodocumentaries
- Writing news
- Make sentences that sing (grammar, clarity, impact, authority)
- Writing reviews (opinions, writing about place and experience)
- Review session
- Writing about heritage (research, relevancy)
- Structure, beginnings, middles, ends (pace, retaining attention, conclusions)
- Researching and writing about culture
- Interviewing people – tips, tricks, questions, recording, transcribing,
- Pitching (editorial voice, hooks, angles, standfirsts and pitching)
The standard course is £360, £30 per session. Sessions run for two hours on a Monday morning. No additional assignments are set.
The course is FREE for contributing student and is suitable for those who wish to build a portfolio of published work. Up to four students can apply to be a Contributing Student.
In exchange for submitting a weekly assignment, Contributing Students do not pay for the course. Detailed feedback will be provided on each assignment, helping identify areas of improvement on an individual basis. Finished articles will be published on our editorial publications helping build a portfolio of work. Outstanding work will be considered for publication in our print magazine, The Slice Tower Hamlets.
Contributing Students should be able to commit about 1.5 days of time per week – a morning of group training, half a day researching the article, half a day writing the article and a 30-minute one-to-one tutor session.
Priority is given to people living in Tower Hamlets or Newham.
All students, including those who aren’t contributing content, will receive a Certificate in Community Journalism with mentions for outstanding skills.
Graduation will be celebrated with a social event at the end of the course.
Certificates will only be issued if all assignments are completed before the end of the course.
Our Certificate Course in Community Journalism is a foundation for our Writers in Residence Scheme and our Digital Editor Trainee Scheme.
Our Writers in Residence scheme is a six-month scheme during which writers submit a monthly feature. Editors at Social Streets provide detailed feedback on each article with advice on how to improve the articles and suggestions on strengthening writing skills. You can only apply for our Writers in Residence if you have completed our Certificate Course in Community Journalism.
Our Digital Editor Trainee Scheme offers more advanced journalism training, helping those who wish to launch their own publication or progress into local or regional journalism. The course covers SEO, content strategy, social media management, industry knowledge, sourcing stories, pitching, personal branding and mentoring from Tabitha Stapely. This course is open to anyone who has a grounding in journalism such as an NCTJ or our Certificate Course in Community Journalism.
Do I have to be trained in journalism?
No, you don’t have to have formal training in journalism but you will need to have had some experience in writing whether that is from essay writing, blogging, creative writing or copywriting. We welcome trained journalists too.
We will require to see examples of previously written work and we will ask you to produce a feature as a test piece as part of the application process.
What other qualities do you require?
Anyone collaborating with Social Streets must be socially minded with an interest in community and culture.
Do I have to live in Tower Hamlets?
No, but Contributing Students will need to visit Tower Hamlets on a weekly basis.
Is the course remote or in person?
The course is taught remotely.
Gem Stokes is an English literature student at QMUL and lives off Roman Road. An emerging journalist, Gem edits the music column for the university’s CUB magazine. She loves vegan food and is passionate about supporting the local community. “Supporting local, independent businesses is essential to the growth of the local economy, and I saw no better way to do that than to utilise my voice as a writer to encourage others to shop and eat locally, too. I love that the magazine shares my ethos and I feel at home as a local community journalist at Roman Road LDN.” Gem is using this opportunity to expand her craft in writing. “Writing for Roman Road LDN has proved to be a profound experience. I have developed my writing skills, improved my confidence in interviews, and widened my vocabulary for talking about good food. I really enjoy the collaborative style of editing, feeling like I’m working alongside my editor, rather than under them. I’ve discovered some really great restaurants and met some really great people, and I can’t wait to discover more.” See all of Gem Stokes work here.
Writing for Roman Road LDN gave me the confidence to pursue journalism and helped me create a portfolio at a credible magazine, to showcase my skills. It helped me get into my master’s programme and get a position as an editor. It was a thorough introduction into the full working process of professional journalism; from independently researching and pitching stories to interviewing, transcribing and writing articles. The feedback I was given after each story helped me understand how to write in an engaging, accessible way, and helped me shed my dry academic style of writing. The thing I enjoyed the most was the creative independence and responsibility I was given despite my lack of experience; instead of being handed mundane tasks, I was given creative liberties which are rarely rewarded to beginners in journalism.
I was encouraged to pitch my own stories and develop independence. Coming from a scientific academic background, it helped to add colour to my writing and make it more engaging for the wider public. For each submitted piece, there was constructive feedback and a dialogue on how to strengthen the story. I had the chance to write for different sections of the magazine, venturing in topics and styles that I was less familiar with and therefore expanding my skills. I was invited to editorial meetings, providing the opportunity to see first-hand how ideas are discussed and developed within the magazine. I was able to use some of the pieces to complete my portfolio for the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism. Having done the diploma as a distance learner, this experience gave me the opportunity to apply the theory learnt during my course and gave me solid basis to confidently move to the next position in the industry.