SND grant creates free 2013 training for members

Schedule includes eight SND Quick Courses in U.S. and Canada

Training in newsrooms is more important than ever, especially for visual journalists trying to improve their digital skills. Unfortunately, newsroom training budgets are also becoming a diminishing resource.

SND has signaled its commitment to training by securing the largest grants in its history over the past six months. A great deal of that money will go toward providing free digital training to its members and the visual journalism community.

Since late last summer, SND has been the recipient of three major grants totaling $56,000. The grants give SND the money to provide free training events for SND members and the visual journalism community at large.

EEJF grant creates eight free 2013 SND Quick Courses

SND was awarded a $25,000 grant by the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation that will fund a number of free SND iPad/mobile Quick Courses this year for members.

The schedule for those Quick Courses will be available in the next few weeks and will start in late April or early May. They will take place in Washington, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal and Louisville as well as three other locations to be determined.

“I’m excited about all the training opportunities we’ll be able to provide our members throughout 2013,” said SND President Rob Schneider. “It’s going to be an exciting year, culminating in our Louisville workshop.”

The importance of training, however, isn’t reflected in current journalism trends.

“What we’ve seen in the past decade is that newsrooms aren’t paying for (training) anymore,” SND Executive Director Stephen Komives said. “I’ve been determined in this role to provide support for that training to continue our mission. It’s all about the mission. We’ve got to stay on target.”

Sue Hale, media consultant for EEJF, says training is key to the future of journalism.

“We have found that solid professional training in this ever-changing ecosystem can help us achieve that goal,” Hale said. “SND has a reputation for providing the tools for designers to increase their skill sets so its goal is a good match for EEJF.”

The SND grant from EEJF is a slice of millions the Foundation invests annually in different areas of journalism, Hale said.

“EEJF is able to distribute between $3.5 million and $4 million annually in four categories, including non-profit investigative journalism, youth journalism education and training, professional training for journalists and special projects which further journalism organizations’ abilities to connect with their communities,” she said.

Hale says EEJF believes training is what’s needed for visual journalists to remain relevant in the field.

“Designers who understand all platforms remain valuable assets for any news operation,” she said.

Hale said visual journalism is important to the readers’ understanding of news.

“Design elements and tools change so quickly in the digital world that skilled designers are now a critical part of continuing the journalism mission of providing news and information to the public,” Hale said. “Whether it is print, digital or both or a digital broadcast site, visual design remains an important element of journalism.”

Gannett Foundation grant for SND LOU provides free workshop training

Late last year, the Gannett Foundation awarded SND a $20,000 grant toward SND Lousville. Half of that money will go fund a mobile/iPad training track for the workshop and the other half will sponsor minority students to the workshop Nov. 7-9.

“We are committed to investing in the future of the media industry, which includes supporting the important visual journalism efforts of the Society for News Design,” said Gannett Foundation Executive Director Pat Lyle.

Minority student grant for SND CLE

Attendees at the SND workshop last fall in Cleveland may have noticed a large contingent of students. Dozens of students from Cleveland State University, the University of Akron, and other area schools were there rubbing elbows with veteran visual journalists from around the world.

In September the Gannett Foundation awarded SND an $11,000 grant for minority students to attend the SND CLE workshop. Komives and David Kordalski, vice president of SND and managing editor of visuals for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, then sought out students from nearby schools to attend the workshop.

“There were 50 students, in fact, at the workshop in Cleveland that would not have been able to attend otherwise,” Komives said.

The grants from the Gannett Foundation were easier to secure because of the long-standing relationship SND has had with Gannett.

“The Foundation has been a great friend of SND for many years,” Komives said. “They also sponsored The Intern competition (at the SND workshop) in Orlando, and previous initiatives for SND training and to help at-risk students.”

(Joe Greco is corporate design director for GateHouse Media. He is also SND’s Region 4 Director.)