Community Journalism Course

This 18-week distance learning course, made up of weekly classes in two nine-week modules, is for people who wish to learn about community journalism, a model of local journalism that helps improve our society.

Start date:  13 September 2023 and 14 February 2024
Enrol: In the first instance, please email to set up a call with the course leader Tabitha Stapely, on

Community Journalism Course led by Tabitha Stapely of Social Streets CIC

Gain confidence in the fundamentals of journalism – quickly!

This course is suitable for people who may not have formal journalism training and is an alternative to costly MAs in journalism and the narrower NCTJ that specialises in traditional news reporting. We bring elements of both at an affordable price.

Learn a form journalism that has a conscience

We are the only school in the UK that teaches community journalism, a model of local journalism for socially-minded people who want to use journalism as a way to improve society. We are a working newsroom and our curriculum is based on our successful industry practice.

Build up a portfolio that shows a broad range of content

Learn about a wide range of journalism and build a portfolio of work that includes news reporting, review writing, cultural heritage writing and interview-based human interest stories. A great way to find the type of journalism that fits you best or to launch your own community title.

What is community journalism?

Community journalism is noted for content that gives a greater understanding of each other as humans and the societal issues we are striving to resolve together. There is an emphasis on cultural heritage, lived experience, social activism and local democracy. Its tone eschews sensationalist and divisive rhetoric for honest and constructive reporting.

Good journalism changes things. It strengthens local communities, encourages greater participation in local democracy and the local economy and increases awareness and tolerance of the cultures and lived experiences of those living within our communities. With this course you develop skills you need to produce journalism that makes a difference.

About the Community Journalism Course

The Community Journalism Course is an online course that runs for eighteen weeks. Both modules must be completed to receive a diploma.

It is designed to be an alternative to the NCTJ providing a greater emphasis on community outreach, constructive journalism and long-form writing.

Lessons and materials

  • Lessons are held online using Zoom and last for 90 minutes – these are mandatory.
  • Lessons involve group assignments and students are able to ask questions
  • Each student receives a 30-minute session with their tutor durin g
  • Students will be set weekly assignments, three of which are mandatory as they will be graded for the certificate


We are the only school in the country offering a course in community journalism and our curriculum has been developed over the last five years from direct experience of running a local newsroom.

Module 1: Foundation Course in Community Journalism

The Foundation Course will give participants a broad understanding of community journalism and first-hand experience with a variety of forms that contribute to community journalism.

  1. An introduction to community journalism
  2. How to find community-led stories
  3. Classic news reporting
  4. Constructive news reporting
  5. Writing with the five senses
  6. Sentences that sing
  7. Image sourcing and creation
  8. Interview best practices – using quotes
  9. Pitching (editorial voice, hooks, angles, standfirsts and pitching)
Module 2: Further Course in Community Journalism

The Further Course will help you produce longer-form community journalism that requires greater sensitivity and care.

  1. Writing about place – drawing on travel writing
  2. Writing reviews – being objective, accessible and inclusive
  3. Writing about culture – cross-cultural communications
  4. Writing about heritage – relevancy
  5. Long-form writing, structure, pace, treatments, literary devices
  6. Writing for social justice – persuasive writing, FOIs and RoR
  7. Interviewing people – tips, tricks, questions, recording, transcribing,
  8. A portrait of a person – painting with words
  9. Developing a series – solutions journalism and data journalism


Each nine-week module costs £270, £30 per session. If you pay for both modules upfront, the cost is £360, bringing the cost of each session down to £20.

Students can enrol in Module 1 only, but cannot enrol in Module 2 without completing Module 1.

Only students who complete both the Foundation and Further courses and provide three samples of writing (articles) will receive a Diploma certificate.

Fellowship programme

We offer a Fellowship programme for those who can attend this course in person and want to take on the additional challenge of weekly assignments that are published in our real-world news titles. Candidates who secure a place on the Fellowship programme receive a stipend to fund their time during the programme. Apply to be a Fellow.


Our Community Journalism Course is a foundation for our Writers in Residence Scheme and our Newsroom Leadership Programme.

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 Community Journalism Course.

Our Newsroom Leadership Programme offers more advanced journalism and editing training, helping those who wish to launch their own publication or progress into local or regional journalism. The programme covers SEO, content strategy, social media management, industry knowledge, sourcing stories, pitching, personal branding and mentoring from Tabitha Stapely. This course advanced and for emerging journalists who have postgraduate training such as an MA, an NCTJ or our Community Journalism Course, or real-world job experience in media.


When do I pay?

Students must pay upfront.

What if I don’t attend all the online lessons?

Students must attend 80% of their lessons in each module in order to receive their Diploma in Community Journalism with mentions for outstanding skills.

What if I don’t submit my assignments in time?

Assignments are set on a weekly basis but only three are obligatory. Students must submit their THREE best article at the end of each assignment, one must be a news story, another must be a long-form article and a third must be an interview-based story. The assignments will be marked and will form the basis of your diploma grade: FAIL, PASS, PASS WITH MERIT, PASS WITH DISTINCTON,

Is the Diploma accredited?

No. The cost of registering this course with a national board is prohibitive. Furthermore, we are investigating Education NFTs instead as these will integrate assignments and grade the teacher in an transparent blockchain transaction. In the meantime, students will receive a physical diploma certificate – old-skool!

Enrolment 2023/24

The course starts on Wednesday 13 September 2023 and on 14 February 2024

To enrol, please contact to set up a short call and discuss the suitability of the course.