Uncertain where I will be physically located on the world map when 2020 rolls in and seeing Diana Coman's schoolhouse attracting students, I propose the following flexible curriculum, subject to revision, to interested parties. The aim of this course is to allow students a structured introduction to journalistic practice. To be considered students must, at a minimum:
- Have a Public Key registered in the Web of Trust
- Own a blog of their own.1 The space of tasks to be done that overlaps with the scope of what Qntra publishes is small. Especially in the early going.
- If pledged, apprenticed, or otherwise bound into an ongoing relationship with anyone in my WoT, the prospective student must secure approval of the agent they have bound themselves to.
- Students must be willing to learn and engage in good faith.
- Students must be willing to commit at least three months to the course.
This course will not replace the classic process for submitting stories to Qntra, though that is likely to receive some revision in the near future as well. I reserve the right to refuse any student at any time for any reason, and while I do not intend to charge tuition as a matter of course at this time, I reserve the right to make future allocations of my time to problem students dependent on the payment of a punative tuition if I perceive a lack of good faith.2 While the course may lead the right students to a potential ongoing relationship as an apprentice or collaborator, the greatest possible assessment I will award for completing ths short course is a conditional passing grade.
The course will be organized into the following phases:
Orientation and Admission
Who are you and what is your story? How familiar are you with the tools of contemporary journalism? What do you want to take out of the class. I anticipate this phase will take most students between 1 week to 1 month. Some students may have substantial remedial needs extending this phase substantially. Some students, if they have substantial history in my WoT may be able to pass this phase in an afternoon. At a minimum students will have to produce a digestable narrative of interesting3 portions of their history.
Elements of a Story
Who, What, Where/When, and why "Why" needs to be discounted. Students will be expected to publish on their blog about the elements that make a story, as they understand them, and further carry discussion in the comments of their posts. Students may be assigned stories with the aim of identifying these elements and undertaking various dissections.
Students will need to demonstrate understanding of the subject, agent, object relationship. The way students will be required to demonstrate this understanding will vary depending on the particular student.
Journalistic Ethics and Epistemology
Understanding the parts that make a story, the student graduates to considering what makes a story journalistic. For the scope of this course, the major types of journalistic story are in order of importance:
- The Report: The statement of facts as you can confidently present them.
- The Indictment: The reporting of bad behavior.
- The Celebration: Sometimes good things happen
Students reaching this phase will undertake exercises in research methods. I expect the most common exercise to be dissections of other people's journalism. Students may be assigned the task of writing the same story in the style of all three types of journalistic story. At the end of this phase the student will be expected to be able to produce journalistic stories suitable for publication either on Qntra or their own blogs, depending on the student and their interests.
After graduating the previous phases, the student continues to practice journalism. This may continue for as long as they student wishes. For the purpose of seperating the short course from life long learning, the practicum as a portion of the course continues for whatever space exists between graduating the prior phase and three months after acceptance into the course. Everything depends on the particular student.
- MP-WP strongly preferred. Platforms such as Google's blogspot, Medium, or Automattic's wordpress.com do not meet the bar for blogs owned by the student. [↩]
- I include this now as a defense against denial of attention attacks against my time. [↩]
- Students at this phase are not yet expected to know what makes a story interesting. [↩]