Community journalism training

Exeter Observer offers free community journalism training courses to help potential contributors gain skills and confidence.

The twenty hour course provides a comprehensive introduction to public interest community journalism in the Exeter context. It covers everything required to enable participants to produce publication quality content without any prior experience.

Each course is comprised of six weekly three hour small group sessions which involve tuition, discussion and practical exercises. They are designed to enable participants and facilitators to learn together, working in the round and in small groups or pairs.

The course is supported by comprehensive resources which include notes, readings and film recommendations. Three written assignments include a news report and a feature article.

Individual support

Each course participant receives two individual mentoring sessions, one after week four and another after week six. These are arranged outside scheduled course time and can be used to review assignments in detail, recap course content and discuss ongoing involvement.

Support is also provided following course completion to help participants fulfil their potential as contributors.

This could include becoming more involved in editorial and production processes, including the planned print launch later this year, as well as writing articles for publication. We also hold regular team socials.


You do not need any special qualifications or previous experience of writing or journalism to participate.

If you are interested in holding wealth, power and influence to account and are prepared to put time into investigating and reporting on issues that matter to local communities then we’d like to hear from you.

You can find out more about our editorial values and perspective on our about pages.

We are looking for people who care about Exeter and the people who live and work here, who possess good basic literacy skills and who live in or near the city.

Active local network connections or local or sectoral insight or expertise would be a bonus.

We are also interested in applications from people with photography, film and social media skills: good journalism needs much more than words alone.

Participants are expected to attend all six sessions and to complete all coursework and assignments. This is likely to take around eight hours each week, including session time.

They are also expected to make regular contributions to Exeter Observer after completing the course. We are happy to accommodate personal circumstances, which we will discuss on application, but are seeking commitment of eight hours a week for eighteen weeks or more.

How to apply

The next course runs from 10am-1pm on six Saturday mornings in Exeter city centre from 11 January to 15 February 2020, with another planned to follow from 22 February to 28 March 2020.

Please get in touch to express your interest in a place, including a few details about yourself and why you want to get involved.

There’s no need to send a CV: we prefer to meet for a chat to check we’re on the same page.

Course content

Recent stories
Exeter City Council accounts delayed by auditors Grant Thornton

Feature  /  Democracy & governance

Exeter & East Devon council accounts delayed by Grant Thornton's "lack of staff resources"

Annual accounts for local government, including Exeter City Council, have been delayed by private sector firms failing to complete their work on time after cost-cutting government auditing reforms.

Read more ...

2019 parliamentary elections - Devon Conservative vote share change bar chart

Analysis  /  Democracy & governance

Conservative vote share varies across Devon but still blocks an Independent MP in East Devon

Labour loses vote share in every constituency, but retains Exeter and Plymouth Sutton & Devonport to leave the county position unchanged from 2017.

Read more ...

Exeter election polling station

News  /  Democracy & governance

Conservatives hold Topsham in Exeter city council by-election

A by-election held on general election day produced an unusually high turnout but a lower Conservative vote share than at the May local elections.

Read more ...

East Devon Independent Claire Wright 2019 general election candidate

Feature  /  Democracy & governance

East Devon Independent Claire Wright set to unite Remain voters in close historic two-way contest

Claire Wright is poised to make history by beating the Tories in East Devon next week. If she does it will be without thanks to the LibDems and Greens, who insisted on standing candidates against her despite the preferences of local party members and the Unite to Remain campaign.

Read more ...

Striking University of Exeter history lecturers Dr Jennifer Farrell and Dr Gemma Clark

News  /  Education & skills

University of Exeter staff strike over pay, pensions and working conditions

The Exeter branch of the University & College Union (UCU) is taking part in a national eight day strike for fair pay and pensions, including equal pay for female and BAME staff, and against casualisation and increasing workloads.

Read more ...