September 20, 2010

Journalists from Latin America and Caribbean take part in webinar “How to Write for the Web”

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas held its newest webinar, “How to Write for the Web,” on Sept. 30, 2010. The webinar was conducted in Spanish by experienced digital journalist Guillermo Franco of Colombia.

The online seminar was offered free of charge, but those journalists who wish to receive a certificate of their participation are asked to pay a $30 administrative fee. The certificate will be e-mailed from the Knight Center as a PDF file and also sent through postal mail.

The webinar was based on Franco’s book How to Write for the Web, which can be downloaded for free as a PDF file in Spanish and Portuguese. The book was also adapted into a distance education course in Spanish, which the Knight Center offered in May and June of 2009 to 70 journalists from 13 Latin American countries.

“I think the Knight Center has rightly recognized that one of the more effective ways to elevate the quality of journalism in the Latin America is to offer training that uses all of the tools of the Internet,” Franco says. He adds that his goals for the webinar were the same that he had when he published the book: to support journalists and others who write for the web in Latin America.

The webinar covered many of the topics found in the book, including how to increase the usability of online texts, the use of the inverted pyramid (and the concept of the “horizontal inverted pyramid”), and how to break the uniformity of online text to facilitate online reading.

Franco recommended participants read How to Write for the Web before taking part in the webinar so the experience was more productive, explaining, “I want the participants to establish the rhythm of the conversation.”

In two years, How to Write for the Web has been downloaded almost 48,000 times from the Knight Center Digital Library, which also features other publications about digital journalism tools, including Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive, by Mark Briggs, and Digital Tools for Journalists, by Sandra Crucianelli. (The number of downloads does not include other sites where the publication is also available.)

Guillermo Franco, who currently works as a consultant, writer and journalism professor, has 24 years of experience as a journalist and has dedicated the last 10 years of his career to digital and Internet-based journalism.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin was launched in 2002 by professor Rosental Calmon Alves. Thanks to generous grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the center has assisted thousands of journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean. For more information, contact the Knight Center’s program manager, Jennifer Potter-Miller at jpottermiller at mail.utexas.edu or +1 512 471-1391.