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Course start: Summer 2022
The bigness of the small story
Online master class by Alex Kotlowitz, a renowned American journalist
An online master class by renowned American journalist Alex Kotlowitz (The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, This American Life): why and how to examine the lives of ordinary people to make sense of the injustices of the world. Alex will teach you to find stories worth telling, gather facts, recreate chronology through interviews, write cinematically, and bring a text to life. And most importantly, he’ll explain how to make your readers more empathetic.
For more than 40 years, Alex Kotlowitz has been telling poignant stories from the U.S. heartland.
Opportunity to pitch a story idea to Alex Kotlowitz
Skills building through interactive online simulators
Weekly online meetings in book-club and boardroom formats
Unique lecture format: through the author’s experience and practical cases
15 texts and excerpts from Alex’s books to read, analyze and discuss
Networking with other students
Exercises and creative homework, designed by the course author
Discussions and progress tracking with a mentor
Watch lectures at your convenience: 14 pre-recorded video lessons 10−20 minutes each
Personalized schedule: move at your own pace, following our recommendations. No strict deadlines or penalties.
How does the course work?
He writes about poverty, violence, prisons, drug addiction, social inequality, conflict, people caught in unbearable circumstances and how they try to make those circumstances more bearable. He is a brilliant American and has worked with some of the world’s best publications: The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times Magazine. He has twice won the Peabody Award, one of the media’s oldest and most prestigious journalism awards. His bestseller, There Are No Children Here, is one of the 150 most influential books of the XX century.
An organization of more than 7,000 American novelists, journalists, publicists, editors, poets, essayists, playwrights, publishers, translators, agents, and other professionals from the literary field. PEN defends press freedom, seeks the safety of journalists, and supports creative freedom.
A System for personalized creative talent development. Our mission is to help everyone reach their highest potential, self-actualize and become themselves. We reinvent online education, help our students set and achieve their professional goals, network and monetize their skills.
Rates
Theory
  • 14 pre-recorded video lessons

Practice
  • 11 exercises
  • Interactive simulators to practice gained skills
  • Online Bookclub and Story Meeting twice a week

  • Learning materials
  • Lesson notes
  • Tests
  • Supplemental reading materials

Support
  • Personal mentor’s feedback
  • Student community

Bonuses
  • Pitch a story idea to the course expert
  • Three-month-long access to course materials
Reviews
Онлайн-мастер-класс известного американского журналиста Алекса Котловитца
A well-told story has an unrestrained power to change and question the way we think of ourselves, see the world through someone else’s eyes, and live through entirely new experiences.
Alex believes the nerve of our time is in small, private and unnoticed stories.
How to make the characters come alive?
How to work with an editor?
Which point of view to choose to tell someone else’s story?
How does one interview people to recreate events of the past?
How can personal experience help find a new story?
journalists, researchers, bloggers, marketers, and writers.
How to portray a person’s appearance?
How to put context into a narrative?
How to write cinematically?

How to move from scene to scene?
How do stories save people?
This course is for anyone who tells stories and works with texts:
How to gather details?
How to approach story subjects?

How much time should one spend with them?
Why does one need empathy to be a storyteller?
It is for anyone who wants to communicate other people’s stories, find characters, be able to listen to them and transform an ordinary story into a great one.
Ksenia Kuzmina
Author, copywriter
I bought this course spontaneously, which is not very typical for me. But the school brand and the choice of lecturers and mentors was too compelling of an argument. This course is great — it helped me start writing the kind of texts that I have long wanted to write. It was also great to become a part of such an interesting and diverse community of experts and students. I met many like-minded people.
Alina Glushanok
Graphic designer
Usually, I am very skeptical about online courses, but these guys did it — they changed my mind! Their course helped me find answers to many of my questions, and now I feel well-grounded to continue pursuing journalism. The course is very convenient, succinct, engaging and useful. Now that the class is over, my excitement still fresh. Now I feel like I know what to do, where to go, and most importantly — how. And I want to say thank you endlessly! This course couldn’t have been better.
Masha Kirdan
Head of Communications at Electrotheater
For a long time, I wanted to start long-form texts on topics I cared about. But I lacked some skills and, of course, motivation. When I saw the announcement of this course and the list of experts, I knew it was it. At first, I was worried online learning might not suit me, but I was wrong: for the first time in my life, I sat through classes that lasted several hours with a great deal of interest and attention, and was happy to do homework. This course helped me start writing my first big story and provided me with lots of useful tools to finish it.
Ksenia Kuzmina
Author, copywriter
I bought this course spontaneously, which is not very typical for me. But the school brand and the choice of lecturers and mentors was too compelling of an argument. This course is great — it helped me start writing the kind of texts that I have long wanted to write. It was also great to become a part of such an interesting and diverse community of experts and students. I met many like-minded people.
Alina Glushanok
Graphic designer
Usually, I am very skeptical about online courses, but these guys did it — they changed my mind! Their course helped me find answers to many of my questions, and now I feel well-grounded to continue pursuing journalism. The course is very convenient, succinct, engaging and useful. Now that the class is over, my excitement still fresh. Now I feel like I know what to do, where to go, and most importantly — how. And I want to say thank you endlessly! This course couldn’t have been better.
Masha Kirdan
Head of Communications at Electrotheater
For a long time, I wanted to start long-form texts on topics I cared about. But I lacked some skills and, of course, motivation. When I saw the announcement of this course and the list of experts, I knew it was it. At first, I was worried online learning might not suit me, but I was wrong: for the first time in my life, I sat through classes that lasted several hours with a great deal of interest and attention, and was happy to do homework. This course helped me start writing my first big story and provided me with lots of useful tools to finish it.
Syllabus
Lesson 1.
Why we tell stories

Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 2.
The grandeur of the little story
Exercise: a simulator to practice gained skills
Lesson 3.
Finding stories

Exercise: a simulator to practice gained skills
Lesson 4.
Dealing with the protagonists of stories
Exercise: skills training
Lesson 5.
Immersive reporting
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 6.
Recreating details and moments with interviews
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 7.
Finding boundaries
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 8.
Gathering facts
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 9.
Writing a Story: How to Find the Right Structure
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 10.
A Cinematic Narrative
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 11.
Finding Context
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 12.
First-person narration — is it necessary?
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 13.
Creating Characters
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 14.
Working with the editor
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 1.
Why we tell stories
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 2.
The grandeur of#nbsp;the little story
Exercise: a simulator to practice gained skills
Lesson 3.
Finding stories


Exercise: a simulator to practice gained skills
Lesson 4.
Dealing with the protagonists of stories
Exercise: skills training
Lesson 5.
Immersive reporting
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 6.
Recreating details and moments with interviews
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 7.
Finding boundaries
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 8.
Gathering facts
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 9.
Writing a Story: How to Find the Right Structure
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 10.
A Cinematic Narrative
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 11.
Finding Context
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 12.
First-person narration — is it necessary?
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 13.
Creating Characters
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
Lesson 14.
Working with the editor
Exercise: an assignment by the expert
F.A.Q.
Not sure if the course is right for you? Sign up for a meeting with a course supervisor and let us answer any of your questions.
I’ve never written a real story. Should I take the course?
Of course! This course is specifically aimed at helping you learn how to find and tell stories.
Will I get enough support during the course?
Yes, each student is assigned a mentor who will help them learn.
What is the schedule? Will I be able to keep up?
We have an adaptive learning system that allows each student to move at their own pace. Each new class opens after the previous one is finished. You can move through the course for as long as you want. However, we encourage students to follow the guidelines we send at the beginning of the course.
How long will the course take?
The course takes five weeks, but you can pass it at your own pace. On average, the course takes four to five hours a week.
If I don’t do my homework on time, will I have to drop out?
No, homework is optional. But if you want feedback, you have to turn it in before the deadline. Otherwise, our mentors won’t be able to review the work.
Can I move to the next lesson without submitting homework?
You can read learning materials and watch video lectures without doing homework.
For how long will I have access to the course?
For three months.
I’ve never written a real story. Should I take the course?
Of course! This course is specifically aimed at helping you learn how to find and tell stories.
Will I get enough support during the course?
Yes, each student is assigned a mentor who will help them learn.
What is the schedule? Will I be able to keep up?
We have an adaptive learning system that allows each student to move at their own pace. Each new class opens after the previous one is finished. You can move through the course for as long as you want. However, we encourage students to follow the guidelines we send at the beginning of the course.
How long will the course take?
The course takes five weeks, but you can pass it at your own pace. On average, the course takes four to five hours a week.
If I don’t do my homework on time, will I have to drop out?
No, homework is optional. But if you want feedback, you have to turn it in before the deadline. Otherwise, our mentors won’t be able to review the work.
Can I move to the next lesson without submitting homework?
You can read learning materials and watch video lectures without doing homework.
For how long will I have access to the course?
For three months.
Rates
Theory
  • 14 pre-recorded video lessons

Practice
  • 11 exercises
  • Interactive simulators to practice gained skills
  • Online Bookclub and Story Meeting twice a week

Learning materials
  • Lesson notes
  • Tests
  • Supplemental reading materials

Support
  • Personal mentor’s feedback
  • Student community

Bonuses
  • Pitch a story idea to the course expert
  • Three-month-long access to course materials