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Good for Your Brain!

Ready to take your game up a notch? Sign up to learn from our experts this spring. Did we mention there will be wine?

Julie Jenkins 13 Feb

Julie Jenkins is director of The Tyee Master Classes.

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Boost your skills. Hone your creativity. Increase your power to make a difference.

Get to the next level you've set for yourself by learning from the best in their fields.

That's our invitation to you as we launch The Tyee's new series of Master Classes -- seven weekend workshops led by some of our most accomplished colleagues and contributors.

The Master Classes are your backstage pass to the Tyee newsroom and bright minds we are proud to publish. For the Tyee team, says editor David Beers, who will be on hand for many of the classes, "this is a different way for us to exchange knowledge with our community and empower people to make the change they seek."

Here's the spring 2012 line-up:

March 31, Alisa Smith, co-author of The 100-Mile Diet, leads a writers' workshop on transforming memoir into "personal journalism." More here.

April 14, Bill Tieleman, columnist and political strategist, reveals the campaign strategy secrets behind his landslide win against the HST. More here.

April 21, Meeru Dhalwala, co-founder of Vij's/Rangoli restaurants teaches Vancouver foodies how to set their writing apart. More here.

April 28 to 29, Christopher Grabowski, ace photojournalist, demonstrates photographic technique in context. More here.

May 5, Sean Holman, acclaimed investigative reporter, shares tools to hold politicians accountable. More here.

May 19 to 20, Kai Nagata, former CTV reporter turned independent media trailblazer, guides a weekend of guerrilla documentary filmmaking on the cheap. More here.

June 2 to 3, Phillip Smith, digital designer for The Tyee and many other sites, teaches how to find, explore and make cases with publicly available data, whatever your line of investigation. More here.

You can read the full details about all these offerings here.

Intimate setting, outcome focused

The class sizes are kept small. The learning environment is the Tyee's newsroom, allowing a friendly experience that includes an outcome-oriented lesson plan as well as informal pauses to commune with your classmates over a glass of wine and -- graciously provided by our sponsor Whole Foods Market -- delicious eats.

You'll recognize the names of those teaching because you've had a chance to get to know them on The Tyee. You've likely been moved by Grabowski's evocative photos and mobilized by Tieleman's weekly column. Perhaps you've dined with Dhalwala, cheered for Nagata, or marvelled at Holman's story-breaking genius on his website the Public Eye and The Tyee. You read Alisa Smith's co-launch of The 100-Mile Diet on The Tyee back in 2005. Before it was cool.

"What these instructors have to share," says Beers, "is grounded in real life experience that has paid off in clear results. They've proven they know what they are doing, and now you can gain that distilled knowledge in a relaxed, communal setting."

Extending well beyond The Tyee pages, the authority of our Master Class instructors is easily traced. Grabowski is winner of the Michener-Deacon Fellowship, Canada's premier award encouraging the pursuit of investigative journalism in the public interest. Dhalwala co-runs Vij's/Rangoli, one of Canada's best-rated restaurant businesses. Alisa Smith's memoir was named Chapters/Indigo book of the decade. Tieleman doggedly took down the HST. Phillip Smith digitally built up The Tyee. Holman single-handedly filed 24 per cent of freedom-of-information (FOI) requests in B.C. in 2009/10. Twenty-four per cent.

Passion and perspective

We are optimistic these are the first of many Tyee master classes we’ll be offering. One thing’s certain. Our teachers are raring to share their passions and perspectives. When we first approached Kai Nagata about the master classes, his response was "I love it." Chris Grabowski said, "I've been waiting for you to ask! I had this idea long ago!"

As the age-old saying goes, the ultimate proof of one's knowledge is found in the readiness to teach it to another. Or, as Phillip Smith said as he showed us the detailed course he'd designed: "You know a subject when you can teach it confidently."

We invite you to check out the full descriptions of the Tyee Master Class spring series. Should you enrol, we promise a learning atmosphere that is serious, but not stuffy -- more craft studio than community college. No empty catch phrases. No quickly-forgotten vocab. No sleep-inducing slide shows. Just a practical, personalized leg-up in your career from a mentor we can vouch for.

You can feel good about participating, too. Any proceeds from the Master Classes end up funding more journalism on The Tyee.

Space is limited and we expect classes to fill up quickly. Reserve your spot today.  [Tyee]

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