2023 – 2024 Program Syllabus

Welcome! Your training over the next year will be broken down into two phases. The first phase consists of an intense boot camp of classes. On your first day of employment you’ll have a boot camp covering all of the topics in Class 1 below. The rest of the classes will be rotated with Skills Workshops, field trips and Off the Record discussions with media experts until your training is completed.

American conservative writer and television commentator on economic issues, Steve More spoke to our reporters an d alumni at one of our Lunch and Learns.

Class 1: New Fellows Bootcamp (10am-5pm on their first day)

What does it mean to be a DCNF reporter? What do my editors expect of me? What should I expect from them? The lecture will set expectations for DCNF reporting fellows, provide basic lessons on the ins and outs of the journalism industry and how to avoid pitfalls.

Fellows will also learn the basic news story structure, including how to write a lede, a nut graf and a click-worthy headline. They’ll also learn how to properly file a story and the fundamentals of writing for a general audience.

  • Skills Workshop: How To Use Open Source Intelligence
    • Instructors: DCNF Editorial Team
      • We’ll show you how to take advantage of the open source intelligence databases out there.

Class 2: The Truly Unique Institution That Is American Journalism

From broadsides to broadcasts, the American news business has drastically changed over the last 240-plus years. But how did the Founding Fathers view journalism? And how should we view our role in society today? This lecture will explore those questions and dive into the history and evolution of the U.S. news industry.

  • Skills Workshop: Practice Makes Perfect
    • Instructors: DCNF Editorial Team
      • This will be a refresher course on writing ledes and nut grafs.

Class 3: Hayek Vs. Keynes And The Economic Debate That Defined The 20th Century

The economic debate between Frederick Hayek and John Maynard Keynes wasn’t just an academic exercise. It defined economic policy in the post-World War Two era and changed the lives of billions of people. In this class, we will go over this debate, how it changed the world, and also explore how it influenced the thoughts of one of the greatest economists of our time, Milton Friedman.

  • Skills Workshop: How To Write The Perfect Headline
    • Instructors: DCNF Editorial Team
      • It’s time to perfect the art of headline writing.

Class 4: How Free Markets Make The World Go Round

We’ve learned about the economists whose ideas are foundational for today’s global economic system. Now, we’ll learn how it all works in practice, how prosperity is created, and why the era of globalization that seemed inexorable suddenly seems like it’s coming to an end.

  • Skills Workshop: Becoming a Pro At Unburying Ledes
    • Instructors: DCNF Editorial Team
      • Now is the time to really hone in on uncovering the details the liberal media is trying to bury.

Class 5: Understanding The First Amendment And How It Protects Journalists

The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech and of the press, but are there limits its protections when it comes to journalism? Fellows will learn from the best in the business what their rights are as journalists, and how to make their reporting is legally bulletproof

  • Skills Workshop: Finding And Using Sources
    • Instructors: DCNF Editorial Team
      • We’ll give you tips on how to build your rolodex, and how to make your sources work for you.

Class 6: The Art Of The Interview

Interviewing may be a central tenet of journalism, but reporters often miss out on getting the best answers from their sources. Fellows will learn how to determine the best questions and the best way to phrase them to get their most out of interviews. They’ll also get tips on how to secure high profile figures on both sides of the aisle.

  • Skills Workshop: Developing Your Beat
    • Instructors: DCNF Editorial Team
      • Tips and tricks for becoming the best reporter in your beat.

Class 7: Building Your Social Media Brand And Promoting Your Stories

A primer on social media. What are the basics of using these valuable platforms as you get started as a journalist? How do you use these tools to expand the audience for your reporting? What are the “dos and don’ts” in an age where what you do online can follow you throughout your career? How do you create viral content?

  • Skills Workshop: Twitter Dos And Don’ts
    • Instructors: DCNF Editorial Team
      • A refresher on what to do and not to do as a journalist on social media.

Class 8: Taking A Walk Down K Street

What is K Street? What is “crony capitalism”? An introduction into the revolving door between Capitol Hill and the lobbyists, lawyers and special interest groups who really help shape the legislation that governs our country. How do you heed one of the most important adages in journalism: follow the money?

  • Skills Workshop: How To Dig Into Lobbying/Campaign Finance Data
    • Instructors: DCNF Editorial Team
      • Now that you know how K Street works, we’ll show you how to hold them accountable and track their influence.

Class 9: The Fine Art of FOIA

Learn the process of filing Freedom of Information Act requests, as well as the intricacies of getting information out of frequently reticent government agencies. What do reporters and the general public have the legal right to know? How do you navigate the network of fee payments and fee waivers? How do you get requests answered and information with as little redaction as possible?

  • Skills Workshop: Let’s Get Back To The Basics… Again
    • Instructors: DCNF Editorial Team
      • Reviewing what we’ve learned from our past speakers.

Class 10: Getting On TV And What To Do Once You’re There

How do you get on network TV and radio? What do reporters need to know once they’re there? How do you use these media platforms to promote your work? Are regular TV gigs a good thing for a reporting career? What are some of the pitfalls of a bigger media footprint?

  • Skills Workshop: Mock TV/Radio Interview
    • Instructors: DCNF Editorial Team
      • We’ll put you through another mock interview. This time, you’ll be the one answering questions.

Class 11: What’s Really Going On With The Economy?

What is the CPI? What’s GDP? What’s the difference between the budget deficit and the national debt? The goal of this lecture is to unpack all the intimidating jargon around covering the economy and teach reporters what really matters to Americans and small businesses when it comes to the broader economy.

  • Skills Workshop: How To Use Government Databases
    • Instructors: DCNF Editorial Team
      • Federal agencies are good at one thing: putting out tons of data. In the right hands, this data can be a powerful tool.

Class 12: Taking On Woke Inc.

Wokeness went from an obscure, fringe ideology to the dominant ideology of corporate and political elites. Wokeness is now embedded in every aspect of society, government and technology. How did this happen, and what can we do about it?

Field Trips (3-4 Per Year)

Field Trip 1: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s Office And Capitol Hill Tour

Field Trip 2: Victims Of Communism Museum

Field Trip 3: The Holocaust Museum

Field Trip 4: Supreme Court Lecture And Tour

Field Trip 5: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnel’s Office

Field Trip 6: Town Hall With Heritage Foundation

Off the Record Events

These events are a group teaching component open to all reporters and alumni. Each event features either a seasoned media veteran who has significant experience in either radio, television, podcast, digital or print news or a news breaker speaker experienced in making the news. The guest speaker will share his/her experiences relevant to the field of journalism.

Former Governor of Maryland, Bob Ehrlich and former first lady Kendel Ehrlich who also served in the Trump administration as the deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy spoke to Reporters on the issues facing our country.

Final Week: Moving On, with Tucker Carlson

What are the next steps? What are the various things a journalist needs to know as they continue in their career? How do you advance? What pitfalls should you avoid? Learn from one of the most watched news hosts in America.