Journalists of the Future!

Course enrolment now closed for May 2022

👋 Introduction

A world away from the elitist traditional journalism that dominates our access to information and ideas, grassroots journalism is growing. It’s about stories for the people, about the people, by the people, and is a powerful tool for change.

As a grassroots journalist myself, I’m committed to not only being a part of this shift, but to making it grow. That is why I want to teach you everything I know about grassroots journalism because the world needs more journalists like you!

Enrol onto my online course today and become a Journalist of the Future!

Some of my former students ❤️

🎓 About the course

My Journalists of the Future course is a series of four workshops designed to equip you with the wide range of skills needed for grassroots journalism: local investigating, ethical interviewing, engaging writing, striking photography & editing, organic social media, an introduction to media law and preparation for the impact this will all have on both you and your audience. And all of this underlined by a strong code of ethics.

This course also includes one-to-one post-graduate mentorship, an invitation into the private MNF Alumni Facebook group, and an opportunity to collaborate in the future.

📣 About Madrid No Frills

Madrid No Frills is a hyper-local grassroots media platform addressing the issues and events that define Madrid today. It was founded by me, Leah, in 2016 and has a growing team of around 30 collaborators and translators. We investigate and cover under-reported stories that the mainstream media repeatedly refuse to prioritise, and do so directly through the narratives of the communities living them.

We challenge the status quo on class, racism, migration, misogyny, housing, history, politics and more. We cover under-reported stories through the people’s narratives and inform thousands about topics that the mainstream media won’t because it doesn’t fit into their business model. And through hard work and determination, I’m now the proud owner of a platform powerful enough to make a genuine difference to Madrid.

MNF has a social media following of over 35,000 people and reaches more than 25,000 readers per month – and, I have achieved all of this organically, by telling stories that matter and never selling out. For my dedication to this model, MNF has been featured by global publications including the BBC, Al Jazeera, Condé Nast Traveller and the Guardian. In Spain, you can find me featured in El País, El Diario, El Salto, Público, El Confidencial and more. MNF is also recognised as a trusted and informative source by the Sindicato de Periodistas de Madrid (Madrid Union of Journalists), which I’m so proud of.

🙋🏾‍♀️ About me, Leah, your teacher!

My background is in climate science but I’m also a trained teacher with 14 years’ experience and, for the last four years, I’ve worked as a freelance journalist and photographer too. Under my own name, I’m published in The Guardian, Al Jazeera, El País and more, and regularly cover stories on housing, poverty, migration and racism. I’m also regularly invited by international publications to comment on issues local to Madrid as a correspondent.

I have no training in journalism, like many excellent journalists. You don’t need a degree in journalism to be a journalist, you just need to be able to tell a good story. I acquired all of my journalism skills through telling stories for Madrid No Frills and, perhaps it’s because I’ve never been formally educated in this field that I’m able to step back and question the methodology of today’s journalism. Journalism is an elitist industry designed to keep people like me out. It’s costly, demands numerous lengthy internships in expensive capital cities, and people from minority backgrounds are poorly represented.

Being a mixed-race woman of colour from a working-class background, I don’t fit into the mainstream journalism world. But here’s the thing: I’m not trying to fit in. Instead, I’ve carved out my own path and, though doing so, I’ve achieved a type of success I’d never anticipated. And now, I’d like to give you the opportunity to do this too and want to share with you what has taken me years to learn!

✍️ Enrol now and become and Journalist of the Future!

🎓 Who can enrol?

This course is for anyone wanting to explore grassroots journalism:

  • Aspiring journalists thinking of getting into grassroots journalism via your own or other grassroots platforms.
  • Early-career journalists already on the beat but wanting to explore grassroots journalism.
  • Veteran journalists shifting towards creating your own grassroots platform and using journalism as a form of activism.

🎓 Workshop details

  • Four live Zoom workshops over four consecutive weeks of May.
  • Each session is around 1.5 hours long with discussion breakout rooms and Q&As.
  • Homework: Start practising immediately what you learn in each session if you have time.
  • First sessions: start 3, 4 and 5 May. Last sessions: 24, 25 and 26 May.
  • There are three slots: Tuesdays at 19:00, Wednesdays at 20:00 and Thursdays at 12:00 CET (UTC+2).
  • If you miss a session, don’t worry. Each workshop will be recorded and sent to you at the end of each week!
🎓 A brief history of surprising impact

In this first class, I take you behind the scenes for a brief history of Madrid No Frills. Looking into how my platform has evolved and expanded over the years, you will acquire sound basics to help you create your own grassroots platform.

🎓 Finding stories, doing interviews & getting out there into the field

In this session, I share with you my favourite resources to help you get hold of the right information and to get in touch with and secure an interview with the right people. We also look at interview techniques, how to begin and end an interview, how to built trust with your subjects, and also the types of questions that can extract compelling and intriguing responses.

Safety should never be overlooked when entering unfamiliar places or potentially hostile environments – I share my tips on how to best approach these territories.

🎓 Ethics, misinformation, privacy & restrictions

Gain the confidence you need in covering sensitive topics by being correctly informed, knowing how to carefully inform your readers and, crucially, distancing yourself from grey areas. In this workshop, learn how to scrutinise your sources, fact-check and filter out disinformation, fake news and ignorance. Master language sensitivity, how to avoid libel in both writing and photography, and how to deal with Gag Laws.

🎓 How to write in order to get people up, out and active

Now that you’re equipped with the most important tools, I show you how to create a powerful article that flows, engages and galvanises. Harness the power of keeping it simple and informative, because this isn’t about creating content, it’s about telling stories that matter. Learn how to write informative, in-depth features and investigative reports, and how to capture your readers’ hearts and minds.

🎓 Ethical photography & editing

I’m often asked what camera I use, but all of my cameras are at least 10 years old and my equipment is way behind the technology being sold today. That doesn’t seem to stop me getting my photos published in The Guardian, BBC or Al Jazeera, or printing and selling them, or getting thousands of likes on Instagram. In fact, it’s often my phone camera that captures my most famous shots!

In this workshop, I show you how to take a variety of story-telling photos, from portraits and streetscapes to candid moments and action shots. Learn how to be discreet and respectful to your environment while still capturing those unique moments. Explore various editing techniques using affordable software, and borrow my no-frills tricks to achieve all those ‘likes’ and click-throughs.

🎓 Social media & gaining a following

Social media for me isn’t about SEO, networking and ‘engaging content’; it’s about authenticity and nurturing a loyal audience and, most importantly, not being overly concerned about what people think. In this workshop, I teach you how to curate a captivating social media presence that both attracts new followers and also holds on to those you already have because, in the end, they’re the people who are going to effect the actions you ask of them, and that is what this whole thing is about!

🎓 The secretly hard bit no one talks about

Journalism is incredibly empowering – people are listening to you and that should not be underestimated. But it can also be an exhausting rollercoaster of pressure highs, creative lows, heart-warming responses but also online harassment. In this final session, we deal with burnout, staying focussed and learning how to say ‘no’ to ensure long-running success.

🎓 MNF Graduation Ceremony: Sharing your work & discussing ideas!

This ceremony is just the first of many opportunities I will give you to take the mic. Following this, you will receive your formal invitation to the exclusive MNF Alumni Facebook Group, social meet-ups and mentoring!

🎓 MNF Graduates’ Mentorship 
  • A one-to-one zoom or in-person chat about your next steps,
  • Ongoing support via a secret Facebook group exclusively for MNF Alumni,
  • A MNF Alumni group Zoom catch-up call one month after graduation,
  • An article on MNF featuring your work!

Price & Discounts

I’ve set my prices incredibly low because I want this course to be accessible to everyone.

  • €85 for the whole course
  • €65 early-bird fee! (Available until 22 April)
  • Discounts: Become a Madrid No Frills Patron and access three levels of discounts (applicable to early-bird fee too):
    • 5% discount for $1 Patrons
    • 10% discount for $3 & $5 Patrons
    • 15% discount for $3 & $5 and all annual Patrons!

Sign up and secure your place!

Send me an email to hola@madridnofrills.com (subject: Course) to sign up! And please state which time slot you prefer:

  • Tuesdays at 19:00 CET (UTC+2)
  • Wednesdays at 20:00 CET (UTC+2)
  • Thursdays at 12:00 CET (UTC+2)

So what are you waiting for? Enrol today!

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