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Product Strategies for Journalism: Free online course teaches how to align editorial, audience, business and technology

With all the changes journalism has experienced in recent years of the digital revolution, journalists have been adopting “new” roles and ways of thinking to better reach audiences and make their organizations more sustainable.

One of the new roles journalists have to play is to manage products in ways that “align business, audience and technology goals while integrating journalism ethics,” as described by the News Product Alliance.

Created two years ago, NPA has been “building a community of support and practice for news product professionals.” Now, it has joined forces with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas to offer a free online course, thanks to support from Google News Initiative, to help journalists around the world better understand and practice this new role as product professionals.

The massive open online course (MOOC), “Product Strategies for Journalism: How to align editorial, audience, business and technology,” runs from Aug. 23 to Sept. 19, 2021 and will be taught simultaneously in three languages by three different instructors: Adriana Lacy (English), Mariano Blejman (Spanish) and Paty Gomes (Portuguese).

Register now for the course in English, Spanish or Portuguese.

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“Product thinking radically transforms the way that your newsroom operates and prioritizes,” said English course instructor Adriana Lacy. “Having dedicated people in your newsroom focused on product thinking and management sets up your newsroom to take an audience-first approach to storytelling and information in new and innovative ways.”

In the four-week online course, students will learn tools and concepts to create and maintain sustainable information products.

Each week of the course will be dedicated to a specific module and topic:

  1. How to use the product mindset and agile principles in everyday newsroom activities.
  2. Identify people and problems behind the products you’re designing for, build hypotheses and design solutions.
  3. How to create a product vision, strategy and roadmap.
  4. How to deliver the right product, starting from a prototyping mindset and using feedback loops.

Lacy will teach the course using video classes, readings and handouts, discussion forums and quizzes.

She will also be joined by guest speakers, including Nia Johnson, product manager at Axios; Genesia Ting, user experience designer, and Brittany Hite, project manager at the Los Angeles Times.

“The guest interview speakers come from a variety of backgrounds and high-caliber newsrooms that have a reputation for delivering user-first products,” Lacy said. “These women all possess strong product management skills and will provide students with case studies for successful newsroom products.”

Lacy is a freelance journalist focused on audience engagement, social media platforms and technology. She is an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Southern California, where she teaches product management and metrics, audience engagement and best practices on engaging diverse communities. She previously worked as an audience engagement editor at Axios and the Los Angeles Times, and as an audience news assistant at The New York Times. She is currently a graduate student in the digital audience strategy program at Arizona State University.

"The Google News Initiative is all about helping news organizations thrive in the digital age. We're increasingly seeing product as a discipline that is helping accelerate the digital transformation of newsrooms around the world and shortening their path to sustainability,” said Marco Túlio Pires, Google News Lab Lead in Brazil and Latin America. “We're thrilled to partner with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and the News Product Alliance. This course is a great opportunity to introduce thousands of journalists to product thinking and get them started on techniques that are driving some of the most successful newsrooms in the world."

This course is for journalists, creators of digital content, social media managers, communication professionals and entrepreneurs, product managers, and UX/UI professionals interested in media. However, it is open to anyone interested in product thinking.

Students will need a computer with Internet access, as well as the ability to use Google Documents, Google Spreadsheets and Google Slides.

Like all Knight Center courses, this MOOC is asynchronous, meaning you can complete the course activities on the days and at the times that best fit your schedule. There are recommended deadlines so you don’t fall behind.

Students who successfully complete course requirements have the option of paying an administrative fee of U.S. $30 to receive a certificate of completion in PDF format. The Knight Center will evaluate the cases of students who need a waiver of that fee. No formal college credit is associated with the certificate.

“After this course, students will become internal influencers in their media organization, align different stakeholders and create product outcomes that best serve their readers,” Lacy said.

So if you prefer English, join Lacy, her guest speakers and journalists from around the world by registering here for this free online course today! Or join our course in Spanish or Portuguese.

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