Don’t just check the box

Newsrooms should be a place where journalists can do their best work, and that begins with respectful workplaces free from the sexual harassment and incivility associated with abuses of power.

The Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism education center with more than 40 years of experience transforming newsrooms and journalists, and Press Forward, a post-MeToo, female-founded start-up dedicated to creating healthy newsrooms, are partnering to provide sexual harassment training specifically geared toward media organizations.

The new Poynter-Press Forward training program, called “#UsToo: Building Trust in Newsrooms,” is distinct because it is designed by journalists for journalists. It applies the most current best practices and research around workplace discrimination to a newsroom setting, diving into issues unique to working in media.

(While this program was originally designed to be in-person, we will adapt this program to a virtual environment to meet requirements necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.)

#UsToo: Building Trust in Newsrooms overview

The interactive program is intended to be a one-day training. Each session is taught through lectures, discussions, case studies and activities. There will also be anonymous pre-training and post-training surveys.

Part 1: Understanding harassment (all staff)

  • Understand the working conditions that contribute to sexual harassment.
  • Identify the most effective ways that bystanders and colleagues can intervene.
  • Learn the legal definition of harassment, and the effect that is has on your ability to do good work, as well as the economic and legal consequences of the behavior.
  • Ensure that everyone on your team knows your internal policies and how to address harassment inside and outside the newsroom.

Part 2: Power, values, ethics and inclusion (newsroom leaders/managers)

  • Understand how power works in the newsroom and how it can be abused. See how healthy organizations create “psychological safety” to establish trust in high-performing teams where employees feel safe to come forward and report.
  • Connect journalism ethics and values to your workplace.
  • Understand how to create an expectation of civility through safe and respectful workplaces — including psychological safety, feedback, management, and leadership.


This is a new type of sexual harassment training program, designed for newsrooms specifically. All material will be informed by a pre-training newsroom survey, so it will further address your specific needs.

Focused on law and behavioral change: 

The Poynter-Press Forward program will discuss harassment, discrimination and abuse of power. It will also demonstrate how to create safe work environments with values-driven and ethical decisions.


There are no cheesy videos and no out-of-touch trainers in this program. The program uses hands-on sessions and journalism industry insiders to engage and affect change.


The program is conducted on-site by two experienced journalists and expert trainers, one woman and one man. The material is pertinent for all employees. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will conduct this training virtually, as appropriate.


This training can be delivered to newsrooms of all sizes. There are also different modules for newsroom staff and management.

Ensure continuity:

This is not one-and-done. We will measure the training’s effectiveness via survey one month after we visit your newsroom to provide suggested follow up insights and resources.


Training is an important investment in not only compliance, but your workforce too, signaling to your employees you take these matters seriously. Prices for the Poynter-Press Forward program vary based on the size of the newsroom. Please contact us for more information.

#UsToo: Building Trust in Newsrooms trainers

Cheryl Carpenter is leadership faculty member at The Poynter Institute. Previously, she was the bureau chief of McClatchy’s Washington, D.C. newsroom.

Caridad Hernandez is a seven-time Emmy award-winning executive producer now based in Washington, D.C. 

Kelly McBride is senior vice president at The Poynter Institute and chair of the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Leadership at Poynter.

Carolyn McGourty Supple is co-founder and chief visionary officer for Press Forward and visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin.  Previously, she was a management consultant and producer at ABC News.

Gloria Riviera is co-founder of Press Forward and a correspondent with ABC News, currently based in Washington, D.C., covering a wide array of topics for “Nightline.”

Christopher Sheridan is an award-winning journalist, content creator and media executive who has built and led content teams at some of the biggest media companies, including ESPN, CNBC, NBC and ABC. He is now a leadership consultant and a professor at Wake Forest University.

Hannah Storm is the CEO of the Ethical Journalism Network, the former director of the International News Safety Institute and previously worked at the BBC, Reuters and The Times.

Doris Truong is director of training and diversity at The Poynter Institute. She previously was an editor at The Washington Post and The Dallas Morning News.

Butch Ward has been a journalist and teacher of journalists for nearly five decades. He was managing editor of both The Baltimore News American and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Jan Winburn teaches in the University of Georgia’s MFA in Narrative Nonfiction Program. Previously, she was a senior editor at CNN.


Contact Leah Bickley, partnerships manager, at (727) 553-4299 or email her at

Thank you to our sponsors:

CBS, Dow Jones Foundation, McClatchy Foundation