Kelly McBride named Poynter’s Vice President for Academic Programs

Kelly McBride will be the Vice President for Academic Programs, leading the Poynter Institute’s teaching team and overseeing all of our educational efforts in person and online.

McBride has the credibility, expertise, ideas and passion to help execute the new mission of The Poynter Institute to be a global thought leader and innovator in this time of transformational change in newsrooms and journalism education, said Poynter President Tim Franklin:

Kelly is a nationally known and respected writer, teacher and thought leader on the media. She co-edited the recently published book, “The New Ethics of Journalism: Principles for the 21st Century,” which explores the guiding standards for our new digital media age. She represents the institute with distinction as a frequently quoted expert in the nation’s top publications and broadcast programs, and has a weekly segment on Tampa Bay’s NPR affiliate.


McBride joined the faculty in 2002, and has taught reporting, writing, editing and ethics. She has done pioneering work on how journalists cover rape and sexual assault. She has run the summer boot camp for college fellows. And, she served as the lead writer on the ESPN Poynter Review Project.

“I owe a great deal of credit to Bob Steele, who literally plucked me from obscurity when he asked me to join the ethics faculty at Poynter,” said McBride.

Most recently, she’s been noted for her work directing Poynter’s Sense-Making Project, a Ford Foundation initiative examining the transformation of journalism from the profession of a few to a civic obligation of the many.

“This is a very cool opportunity for me. I get to guide people whom I respect and occassionally idolize. And I get to work for a boss oozing ambition and enthusiasm,” McBride said. “There’s a deep hunger for what we teach here at Poynter. And there’s a powerful need for new knowledge, too. Because it’s not just journalism that’s changing, it’s democracy.”

One of her first priorities will be to retool our curriculum with a focus on digital innovation, said Franklin.

“Ethics will remain a core franchise at Poynter.” said McBride. She added, “We will be posting for a faculty position in digital storytelling. We will be looking for candidates that can incorporate ethics teaching and writing into that job.

Before joining Poynter, McBride was an award-winning reporter for 14 years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington. She was the lead crime reporter, and spearheaded investigative projects on crack cocaine and the death penalty. She later gained a national reputation as a religion reporter, producing projects on the ethics of fertility treatments, pedophile priests and gay Christians.

McBride grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Missouri. She went on to get her master’s in theology from Gonzaga University.

McBride’s three kids, Molly, Clarke and Maggie, have grown up roaming Poynter’s hallways. Molly and Clarke are both in college. Maggie is in high school.

McBride succeeds Stephen Buckley, who held the position since 2010.

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  • Forrest Carr

    Kelly–outstanding. An excellent move by the Poynter, and wonderful news. Congratulations.

  • ProfDeanMiller

    Good Choice, Tim!