Journalism toolkit for download

I recently found a training guide published under the auspices of the United Nations and aimed at journalists in the developing world. But after spending several hours last night skimming this 140-page PDF and exploring many previously unkown (to me) links, I think the document’s author, Martin Huckerby, has created an invaluable resource for anyone who writes or teaches journalism. I’ll offer a cursory tour below but be warned — once you start browsing through “The Net for Journalists” you’re likely to burn up a lot of time sampling the ideas and resources Huckerby has pulled together.

Since it’s a PDF the best way to refer to interesting finds is by page number and logic would direct you to the table of contents on page two. But that’s so linear. Instead let me pluck some finds out of the mix — and pat yourself on the back if you’ve already found these on your own.

For instance, through Huckerby’s training guide I discovered a sort of mash-up built by Australians who assembled a whole mess of previously-published international data and made it comparable across the various nations. Okay so here’s a trivia point that will not save the world but that I expect to mine for amusement at the office today: name the world’s top movie-making nation? If you said India (home of Bollywood) you get a star.

Okay, smarty pants, now name the rest of the top five. Visit the NationMaster comparison page to check your guesses against the data.

That’s a puffy example but NationMaster simplifies the same sorts of comparison for everything from crime and corruption to armed forces and taxation.

Through the section on specialized search, beginning on page 38, I found a Canadian site called Search Engine Colossus that compiles and organizes resources organized by nation. Clicking on Afghanistan, for instance, led me to — published ironically in Silicon Valley — but listing a whole bunch of resources that might be useful if I had to write about Afghanistan from my desk.

I had originally found the UN document in the course of looking for some training tools for classroom or citizen journalism purposes, and starting about page 119 there is a good compilation of handouts, clasrooms exercises and guides to other resources that I’ll let you explore on your own. One site bears special mention, however, the News University sponsored by Poynter Institute. I probably should have found this elsewhere, since I do get lots of Poynter blurbs, but only last night did I log onto some of the training courses which would be ideal for citizen journalism, beginning newswriting and other uses.

In any event beore I get sucked into several more hours of exploration let me close with two quick notes the first being personal.

In scanning the section on blogs (page 82) I found a reference to my friend, former Financial Times reporter turned SiliconValleyWatcher Tom Foremski. Wow, he’s now world-renowned in journalism! Way to go Tom.

Finally, as awesome as I found this guide and its many links I’d throw in one other training favorite that is more focused on the mechanics of web publishing — how to build sites and pages and response mechanisms, etc. — a site called I wrote it in a previous blog entry and refer you there for more.