Welcome to Music Journalism 101. This online course is free to use for self-study under a Creative Commons license; however, you are not able to use it commercially, or remix it or adapt it in any way. It will be available commercially when it is complete, however; so, if you want to use it commercially (such as part of a training package), or if you want me to deliver elements of this course at workshops or for other purposes, please let me know.
Now that that official shit is out of the way, let me officially welcome you to the first part of this course. While everything within Music Journalism 101 will be applicable to all types of music, the focus here is on metal, because that is the genre that I work in, know best, and love.
To get the most out of this course, you need to approach it with sanity, a rational and logical brain, and an analytical perspective. You need to be prepared to read material that is well outside of metal, music and – occasionally – journalism as well, and to assess its application to what your eventual goal is. What is your goal? Being able to write insightful reviews and features, and to approach your task with professionalism.
Some of this reading will come from essayists, anthropologists, and a variety of other fields. It will coach you in professional observational writing.
If you are a fan and are just looking to write fan-driven material, you’re in the wrong place. You’re far better off going and gushing elsewhere on your own blog, or in a fan forum. Nobody wants to read material driven by fan love when it’s supposed to be solid journalism and filled with professional integrity.
During this course, you will learn about researching and writing interview questions, conducting interviews over the phone and by email, reviewing releases, reviewing events, dealing with material that you don’t like but have to be fair with, learning how to deal with multiple releases all at once (essential for festival reviews and tight deadlines), and so on. Because it is metal, there will also be an element of genre identification in this, which is essential to anybody who hopes to write insightful material.
As the curriculum develops, this course will also develop a life of its own. I am still taking suggestions, so if you want to see something particular in this course, drop me a line, hit me up at MySpace, or leave a comment on this blog.