2019 Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media FAQs

May 16, 2019

Poynter’s Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media is a transformative, tuition-free leadership program to train journalists of color working in digital media to thrive, professionally and personally. Starting this year, Poynter is partnering with The Washington Post to enhance curriculum and provide some of the instructors.

The 2019 program, our fourth annual, will take place Oct. 13-18 on Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg, Florida. The deadline to apply is Friday, June 14.

Here’s an FAQ about the program:

What do you mean by “diversity”?

This leadership academy is designed to address racial diversity in media.

According to the 2018 ASNE diversity survey, only 19% of newsroom managers were people of color. Poynter views this as a core ethical issue in journalism. Getting more perspectives and diverse voices into positions that influence news coverage is crucial for both quality journalism and building trust with our audiences.

Who are the instructors this year?

The lead faculty are Carla Broyles, senior editor for recruitment and training at The Post, and Sharif Durhams, senior editor at CNN Digital and NLGJA president.

Other speakers/instructors include:

  • Candi Carter, executive producer at “The View”
  • Martin Baron, executive editor at The Washington Post, is a living legend.
  • S. Mitra Kalita, senior vice president for news, opinion and programming at CNN Digital
  • Mizell Stewart III, senior director of talent, partnerships and news strategy for Gannett and the USA Today Network

How much does this program cost?

Tuition for this program is free, thanks to the generous support of our partners and sponsors.

Employers are encouraged to support participant travel. However, a limited number of travel stipends are available and will be determined once the application process is completed.

Who is the ideal candidate for the Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media?

We’re looking for journalists of color working in digital media who have leadership responsibilities — formal or otherwise — and are looking to continue climbing the career ladder. If you’re reading this and feel like you might be a good fit, you should apply.

I consider myself a journalist but am not working for a news company. Can I apply?

Please feel free to apply, but know that we place a priority on journalists who can have an impact within a news organization.

I’m a journalism educator. Can I apply?

Same as above: We place a priority on journalists who can have an impact within a news organization.

I applied for the academy before and wasn’t selected. Why should I apply again?

This program is extremely competitive, but we believe taking the time to complete the application is worth it. We will give preference to previous applicants when selecting this year’s class.

Can I apply if I live outside the U.S.?

Yes! We will open the academy to English-speaking international applicants. Participants will cover their own travel costs. However, a limited number of travel stipends are available and will be determined once the application process is completed.

Can I refer a colleague?

Yes! We encourage you to share this opportunity with colleagues, peers, friends and supervisors.

The application calls for an example of a digital project “you have been involved in.” What does that mean?

The project can be anything you worked on, either solo or as a team. This could be a substantial story or series of stories, a website, an app or anything else in the digital space. In some cases, there may not be one specific final product to point to — you may have coordinated a social media campaign or a real-life event, for example. In that case, explain your involvement and leadership in the project, and your supporting link could be to a hashtag or series of social posts that are a good representation of the work you’ve done.

Can you tell me what you’re looking for with the reference letter?

We recommend you ask someone who works closely with you who could speak to your demonstrated leadership ability and/or grasp of digital media. The letter should address these questions: 1. What can the applicant learn from this seminar that they can later use to benefit others in their organization? 2. What leadership traits does this person already possess and how can the program help the applicant improve their skills?

How long should a reference letter be?

Due to the volume of applications we anticipate receiving, please keep letters to roughly one page. Don’t worry about getting your recommendation on fancy letterhead — you’ll paste the letter into the online application field.

To whom should my reference letter be addressed?

Since a team from Poynter and volunteers from a variety of journalism organizations will be assisting with the selection process, we suggest addressing letters to the selection committee, without specific names.

Any other tips for application success?

Don’t forget to take ownership for your accomplishments. Be clear about your contributions as you draft your bio and project description, even if you worked as part of a team.

What are the important dates in the application and selection process?

Applications open: April 17, 2019

Applications close: June 14, 2019

Participants announced: By the end of August

Why is Poynter partnering with The Washington Post?

The Washington Post (where I worked before coming to Poynter) is exemplary when it comes to both digital media and diversity. It is one of the most diverse large newsrooms in the U.S., thanks in large part to specific diversity initiatives and leadership buy-in. The Post is also consistently recognized for its innovative digital projects like The Lily.

We’re looking forward to providing even more interactive, cutting-edge sessions for our program participants.

Are you still partnering with NABJ?

Poynter partnered with the National Association of Black Journalists for the first three years of the Diversity Academy. NABJ is now exploring a leadership program specifically for its members.

We want to make sure that all journalists of color, including black journalists, apply for this program. We are actively working with AAJA, NABJ, NAHJ, NAJA and SAJA to spread the word to their members. We also welcome diverse journalists not affiliated with an association for journalists of color.

If you still have questions after reading this page, please contact seminars@poynter.org.