Late-in-the-week Grab Bag…

October 22, 2009 at 9:21 pm Leave a comment

A grab bag of items today — some thoughts about courses, more info on the IRS re out-of-work vs. self-employed workers, a thank you, and a couple of leads!

*One of the questions a laid-off or bought-out journalist is going to get in an interview is this: What have you been doing since you left your news organization? (I promise you that you’ll be asked this, even if it has only been a few weeks). The wrong answer is “just” job-hunting (though we all know job-hunting is a full-time job). As discussed in yesterday’s post, free-lance work is a good way to stay current. Another may be volunteering (a topic for a future post). And another is brushing up your skills — especially digital and technical skills — by taking courses. That could impress future employers as well as give you a chance to learn some new things.

Unless you’re willing to foot the hefty bill for college courses, though, a good affordable alternative might be online and multiday in-person courses offered through journalism programs and non-profits. The following is a few I know about that offer quality courses at little or no cost — please send other suggestions for future posts!

*The Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business Journalism housed at Arizona State University in Phoenix (and whose Web site is offers a bevy of online courses (some one day, others weeklong) on business, economics and financial topics for working journalists. And they’re free. Below is an example of an upcoming online seminar:

Business journalists from around the world come to the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University for renowned seminars, to share their expertise, and to learn from one another’s experiences.

*The National Press Foundation in Washington, which supports training and development programs for working journalists, offers a number of programs in various subject areas, many of them free or at little cost. Most of them require applications. For more information, contact them at: .

*And Mediabistro offers a number of online and other courses, targeted at free-lancers and those looking to sharpen their skills. (

*After my blog post the other day on IRS rules regarding job-hunting expenses, one of my email correspondents (and a wise author of the following piece on, posted last March) sent me this link…I share the piece here as it offers good advice and provides some incentive for doing free-lance work while you look. Essentially, what you can deduct depends on how you label yourself — unemployed or self-employed:;col1

*The good folks at D.C. Fishbowl from Mediabistro posted a nice piece about these efforts today — for which I’m grateful:

*And here’s today’s free-lance and job leads:

*An environmental Web site is looking for some good D.C. free-lancers interested in writing “off-the-news” pieces about the environment and climate change. The site doesn’t cover markups or the drip-drip-drip of environmental policy but instead is looking for analysis and different angles. Please let me know if you’re interested (here or at or on Facebook) and I’ll connect you.

*This one was sent to me by several email correspondents; the pay may be low but it sounds like a good opportunity for someone wanting to do some Hill reporting work. And as a I grew up in Minnesota, I’m a fan of this online pub.:

The MinnPost, a non-profit online publication run by veterans of the Mpls. and St. Paul papers, is looking for a Washington correspondent to cover the Minnesota delegation on the Hill. The salary is approx. $35,000.  For those interested, you can check out the site at Also,  a CQer and former LAT’er has more information so feel free to get in touch with her asap at

Happy hunting!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Freelancer rules of the road Some events and some leads

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