November 1, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Nov. 1, 2018) – The Poynter Institute, a global leader in journalism, today opens applications for three Leadership Academies for Women in Digital Media in 2019. Poynter’s highly competitive and transformative program is poised to train more women journalists than ever in the program’s five-year history. 

Due to the demand and success of the program, Poynter tripled the number of leadership academies for women in 2018 and will once again offer three academies in 2019. Each will accept 30 women, up from 28 last year.  

“These academies bring some of the most creative and energetic women in media together in a program that not only improves the trajectory of their careers, but also generates ideas and strategies that contribute to the success of their news organizations,” said Poynter President Neil Brown. “Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media has become a signature Poynter program aimed at helping women become even more influential in an industry that genuinely needs their skills and leadership."

The 2019 academies at Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg, Florida, will take place Feb. 24-March 1, March 31-April 5 and Oct. 20-25. 

Apply now for the 2019 Leadership Academies for Women in Digital Media. 

Each academy is distinct, with new guest faculty, fresh content and diverse participants. But the overall strategy is the same: The program focuses on the skills and knowledge needed to rise to the highest levels of digital media leadership. In a recent survey of graduates from the first three years of the program: 

  • 81 percent got promoted or have more job responsibilities, 
  • 83 percent make more money, with half making substantially more money and
  • 76 percent have a clearer vision of what's important in their career.

As in the previous five years, the academies will be led by Katie Hawkins-Gaar, founder of The Cohort newsletter and the Digital Women Leaders coaching initiative, and former Poynter faculty for innovation. 

“The goal of Poynter’s program has always been to elevate — in a personal, professional and profound way — women journalists at different stages of their leadership careers,” Hawkins-Gaar said. “This year was an experiment in trying to meet the demand and interest, while also keeping the same, intimate cohort magic alive. It was clear with each 2018 class that we did just that, and I couldn’t be happier about continuing to expand the reach of this program.”

Hawkins-Gaar will be joined in 2019 by this Poynter teaching team: Cheryl Carpenter, leadership faculty; Kristen Hare, local news innovation reporter; Kelly McBride, senior vice president; and Doris Truong, director of training and diversity. 

Guest instructors for 2019 will be announced closer to the academy dates. Recent instructors include:

  • Kainaz Amaria, visuals editor, Vox
  • Jessica Bennett, gender editor, The New York Times 
  • Megan Greenwell, editor-in-chief, Deadspin
  • Cristi Hegranes, founder, CEO and publisher, Global Press Institute
  • Áine Kerr, co-founder and COO, Kinzen
  • Vivian Schiller, CEO, Civil Media Foundation
  • Swati Sharma, deputy editor,
  • Millie Tran, global growth editor, The New York Times
  • Elite Truong, deputy editor, strategic initiatives, The Washington Post.

“The connections I've made to other journalists and the ongoing support we've seen from each other and the faculty have been invaluable as I've navigated my first year in a new job,” said Emma Carew Grovum, product manager at The Daily Beast and a graduate of Poynter’s academy in March 2018. “I successfully negotiated a timeline for my next promotion and also negotiated for a raise. Mostly, what I took away from my time at Poynter with my cohort is confidence in my sense of value. I no longer look at my work and worry about whether it is good enough to keep my job. Instead, I look at my work and have a clear sense of what I'm building toward in my career.” 

Applications for the Leadership Academies for Women in Digital Media will be accepted between Nov. 1-30. There will be one application for all three academies, and tuition for each academy is $1,000. A limited number of tuition scholarships and travel stipends are available for attendees and will be determined once the application process is completed.

As in past years, Poynter will select a group that represents need and diversity across ethnicity, age, geography, technology platforms, organization size and skill sets. Because of the small size of the class, preference will be given to candidates who have demonstrated an aptitude for leadership and will benefit from intensive training to further their careers in digital media.

Tuition for the weeklong academy is reduced thanks to support from funders including the McClatchy Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Craig Newmark Philanthropies. 

Poynter is seeking additional funding from media and technology companies, foundations and academic institutions to enhance this transformative learning experience.

“Our ambition is to ultimately endow this training so that we can support it, and women journalists, well into the future,” said Poynter Senior Vice President Kelly McBride. 

Organizations or individuals interested in supporting this transformational program may email

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,, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum in seven languages, with over 300 interactive courses and 150,000+ registered users in dozens of countries. The Institute’s website,, 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


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