Reclaim the News: Star & Crescent Local Journalism Course

Project Details


Star & Crescent has partnered up with the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) and the University of Portsmouth to offer 12 local residents a FREE place on a 10-week local journalism course worth £100s and based here in Portsmouth.

What is the #ReclaimTheNews course?

This spring, the Star & Crescent team are joining forces with the Centre for Community Journalism to teach 12 Portsmouth residents the fundamental skills needed to deliver high quality, investigative local journalism that makes a real difference to our communities.

From April, the S&C team will be joined by national experts and journalists over 10 weeks to train participants in a range of areas relating to investigative and community journalism. Alongside their training each week, participants will be supported and mentored to write at least one story for publication on S&C from July 2018.

Participants will be invited to remain with S&C after their training as part of our new Community Reporting Team.

What will I learn?

The course will cover a range of techniques and issues relating to local journalism, including:

The current challenges facing local mainstream news
The basics of reporting news and feature articles
Media law and ethics
How to use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Social media and other digital tools for local journalists
We will also be running a longer session with the Centre for Investigative Journalism on mapping power relations in Portsmouth, from local councillors to big business – and everything in between.

The course will close with a public showcase event on 7th July where participants will be given certificates and the public will get a sneak preview of the stories produced during the course. Local journalist and campaigner Christine Lord will be our special guest at the closing event, speaking about the importance of high quality journalism to local communities.

How can I apply?

Although the course is worth £100s in terms of the training offered, we are offering 12 free places to local people who are keen to be involved in community reporting with Star & Crescent. We particularly encourage applications from people who wish to be part of the S&C Community Reporting team, for an ideal commitment of 6 months after the course finishes.

You DO NOT need:

Any special qualifications
Any previous experience in journalism
Any previous writing experience
Instead, we are looking for participants who have some or all of the following:

Passion about Portsmouth and diverse communities living here
Good basic literacy
Live in Portsmouth
Are interested in holding power to account
Are ready to work hard as part of a team to investigate local issues
Have strong community networks and/or knowledge
Are interested in writing, story-telling and/or journalism
Experience using social media
In addition, if you have skills in filming/editing, podcasting or photography, make sure you mention it on your application, as not all journalism involves writing!

When is #ReclaimTheNews running and what support will I get if I take part?

The training course starts on Saturday 21st April, 10am – 2pm, at the Eldon Building on Winston Churchill Avenue and runs in the same building every Wednesday from 6 – 8pm from 25th April – 6th June.

There are two additional Saturday sessions on 12th May and 7th July.

A full course guide including details of all sessions will be provided to all successful applicants.

As well as the training in sessions, we will make sure all participants are fully supported to work on their stories throughout the course by offering mentoring sessions with members of the S&C team.

Participants are required to book and attend at least two mentoring sessions to work on their story with a member of the S&C team on one of the following dates: 9th, 16th and 23rd June, 10am-4pm. Additional mentoring sessions will also be available on request to suit the participant throughout the course, up to 30th June, should they want additional support. There is no maximum number of sessions available – support will be offered to match each participant’s needs.

Participants are expected to confirm in their application that they can attend ALL the dates, but please indicate on your application if there are special reasons why you can’t make a session and we will try to take this into account.

In addition to attending all training sessions and completing 2 mentoring sessions, we expect all participants to create or co-create at least one news/feature story by the end of the project on 7th July.

What will I get out of it?

You mean besides an enormous sense of wellbeing, the chance to meet and work with a group of interesting Pompey people and – in case we haven’t mentioned it – a learning experience worth £100s of pounds?

You will leave the course with:

Basic journalism skills
Knowledge and awareness of media law and online publishing
Specific skills relating to investigative journalism, e.g. FOI requests, interview skills, and investigating organisations and businesses
A pioneering role in our new Community Reporting Team

Layperson's description

Are you ever disappointed by local news coverage? Do you feel like there’s more to a story than a few hundred words in the local paper? Have you ever wished there was something you could DO about it?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we’ve got some great news for you and it’s called #ReclaimTheNews, a new training course coming to Portsmouth in April 2018.
Short titleReclaim the News
Effective start/end date21/04/1831/07/18


  • hyperlocal news
  • journalism
  • citizen journalism


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.