October 31, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Oct. 31, 2018) – The Poynter Institute and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) are pleased to announce the 2018 class for the Poynter-NABJ Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media, a transformative leadership program for journalists of color.

The 25 participants, chosen from a pool of 139 applicants, are emerging leaders in digital media who have demonstrated an aptitude for leadership through current projects and references. They will have direct access to top media executives, receive practical advice on career planning and gain a deep understanding of what it takes to successfully lead today’s digital news organizations.

“Newsrooms must reflect the communities they serve. The path to accurate reporting is built on a journalistic workforce that is genuinely connected to all the people and places we cover,” said Poynter president Neil Brown. “We can’t effectively meet our mission if news organizations are almost exclusively white organizations on the outside of the stories looking in. Change starts with leadership. That’s why this program for journalists of color is so vital to Poynter’s mission of generating better journalism by making our ranks much, much more inclusive.”

The academy is honest about the challenges for journalists of color in management roles. It also provides the connections, confidence and skills to confront them. In a survey of participants in the 2017 academy, 94 percent tap into their cohort for ideas and support, 88 percent have more confidence and 100 percent apply something they learned at least once a week.

“Diversity will be the cornerstone to success as newsrooms continue to innovate to meet the needs of a changing audience, so it’s wonderful to see these journalists of color who are eager to grow as leaders,” said Doris Truong, director of training and diversity at Poynter. “I know they will come away from Poynter brimming with ideas that will have an impact throughout our industry.”

Tuition to this program is free for selected applicants thanks to the lead sponsor, TEGNA Foundation, and additional support from Scripps Howard Foundation. NABJ serves as Poynter’s training partner.

“I’m excited that NABJ and Poynter are partnering for a third year to elevate and train the top emerging leaders in digital media,” said NABJ president Sarah Glover. “This leadership training is a great opportunity for a fresh cohort of digital professionals to gain new professional skills and develop impactful relationships.”

Congratulations to this year’s class:

  • Saeed Ahmed, senior assignment editor, CNN Digital
  • Dorine Bethea, multiplatform editor, The Washington Post
  • A. Sherrod Blakely, digital media reporter, NBC Sports Boston
  • Rony Camille, digital content manager, WBZ NewsRadio1030/iHeartMedia
  • Melissa Caskey, senior content editor, Yahoo Sports
  • Corinne Chin, video editor, The Seattle Times
  • Jozen Cummings, deputy director for social stories, Bleacher Report
  • Brian De Los Santos, digital strategist, The Desert Sun
  • Taunya English, editorial director, WHYY-Philadelphia
  • Larry Graham, assistant managing editor—digital, The Blade
  • Brandon Harden, news producer and staff writer, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Erica Henry, director, CNN
  • Breana Jones, product manager, ESPN
  • Jamal Jordan, editor for digital storytelling and training, The New York Times
  • Sara Ketchum, writer and producer, CNN
  • Asraa Mustufa, digital editor, The Chicago Reporter
  • Ernest Owens, LGBTQ editor, Philadelphia Magazine
  • Jarondakie Patrick, lead digital producer, Vanity Fair
  • Meghan Pryce, associate mobile producer, CNN
  • Arielle Ray, motion graphics journalist, Quartz
  • Manny Smith, assignment editor/planner, NBC 10 (WCAU TV) Philadelphia
  • Andrea Valdez, editor for wired.com, WIRED
  • Tiffany Walden, cofounder and editor-in-chief, The TRiiBE
  • Kenneth Ware Jr., digital amd social architect, self-employed
  • Orlando Watson, co-founder, Honeycomb

Mizell Stewart III, senior director of talent, partnerships and news strategy at USA Today Network, will once again lead the academy. He will be joined Dec. 2-7 at the Poynter Institute by the following guest instructors:

  • Sharif Durhams, senior editor for news and alerting, CNN Digital
  • Richard J. Dyer, president and general manager, WUSA-TV
  • Cari Hernandez-Wood, executive producer, CBS4 Miami
  • Rashida Jones, senior vice president of specials, NBC News
  • Rob King, senior vice president/original content news-gathering and digital media, ESPN
  • Roland S. Martin, host and managing editor, TV ONE Cable Network, Roland Martin Unfiltered
  • Erin Peterson, investigative executive producer, TEGNA
  • Joanie Vasiliadis, director of digital content, TEGNA
  • Anne Vasquez, former senior vice president of strategic initiatives, Tribune Publishing
  • Benét Wilson, founder and editor-in-chief, Aviation Queen LLC
  • Keith Woods, vice president of newsroom training and diversity, NPR

Poynter teaching team Butch Ward, Cheryl Carpenter, Ren LaForme and Vidisha Priyanka will also lead sessions throughout the week.

This academy is part of Poynter’s broader efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in newsrooms. In addition to recruiting and accepting a diverse applicant pool for all teaching programs, Poynter expanded its leadership training for women in 2018 and continues to host The Power of Diverse Voices, a workshop for minority writers, each fall.

About The Poynter Institute
The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and 21st-century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, and at conferences and organizations around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, newsu.org, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum in seven languages, with hundreds of interactive courses and 150,000+ registered users in dozens of countries. The Institute’s website, poynter.org, produces 24-hour coverage about media, ethics, technology and the business of news. The world’s top journalists and media innovators come to Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcast producers. This work builds public awareness about journalism, media, the First Amendment and discourse that serves democracy and the public good.

Contact: Tina Dyakon
Director of Advertising and Marketing
The Poynter Institute

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.

More News

Back to News