Your Unofficial Summer Syllabus

By Kara Tabor

Creative Commons photo from Flickr user samantha celera
Ah, summer--it's the time when journalism students across the country exchange classes for internships, jobs, personal projects and (hopefully) some relaxation. It's also a great opportunity to get caught up on some of the extracurricular learning that tends to take the back burner during the academic year.

Depending on your commitments, summertime may be busy-time. However, even the most tightly scheduled students can squeeze in a few minutes here and there to dig into some new resources.

Here are some ideas for staying immersed in all things media, whether your feet are pounding the pavement or are buried in the sand:

Learn Your Way:

Tech skills are now integral for well-rounded journalists, so equip yourself online.

Dash, an online teaching tool powered by General Assembly, provides a platform for users to get acquainted with HTML, Javascript, and CSS through completing online assignments. Projects include building a mock personal website, a CSS robot and a responsive blog theme. Rather than teaching you code in a terminal, this program builds your skills by putting your knowledge to the test.

An oldie-but-goodie, Codecademy provides free training in languages like JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Python and Ruby. Sessions are designed to be completed on your own terms. Feel free to start a session, take a break and pick up again while working on your tan. The site's online community can help connect you to users around the world.

Created with journalists and journalism students in mind, the For Journalism Project provides cheap online courses taught by some of the industry's top data journalists. For a nominal fee of $20 per course, you can access videos, ebooks, code repositories and more on topics like mapping and cybersecurity and online privacy.

Catch Up On your Reading:

There isn't a better season to get stuck in a book, a magazine, a blog or an article.

Stay informed on the news media's happenings by keeping an eye on sites like Nieman Journalism Lab and the Columbia Journalism Review. Even for students can benefit from reading these industry publications and other, especially in the current media climate.

When you aren't staying updated on the transition to Journalism 2.0, make sure to treat yourself to a healthy dose of quality work. Sites like Longreads and Longform provide platforms for some of the best longform journalism available. Sit back with some ice cream and find a piece that interests you.

Work Your Online Presence:

If you are a Missouri School of Journalism student, give your HireMizzouTigers profile a review. Since the platform is a prime hub for local, regional, and national employers searching for talent, you want a presence that is both current and professional. Resources on interview preparation and proper resume formatting are provided.

LinkedIn for Journalists is another treasure trove of helpful information. The popular business networking site's list of resources for branding and using the network for tracking down sources is another perk of connecting online.

Whatever you may do this summer and wherever you may be, stay cool and use these tips and tools to make it even better!

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