November 1, 2016

The 2017 Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media will be held March 19-24 at Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg, Florida. Applications are open from November 1-30, 2016.

To answer your first question: Yes, you are awesome and should probably apply.

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

Yes! We are pleased to open the academy to English-speaking international applicants this year. 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.

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

We’re looking for women 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 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.

What do you mean by “an example of a digital project you’ve worked on”?

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 letter of recommendation?

We recommend you ask someone who works closely with you who could speak to your demonstrated and potential 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 we help the applicant improve their skills?

How long should a letter of recommendation be?

Due to the volume of applications we anticipate receiving, please keep recommendation 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 recommendation 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 recommendation 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.

How does this program differ from ONA’s Women’s Leadership Accelerator?

ONA’s Women’s Leadership Accelerator was borne out of the Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media, which ONA and Poynter launched in 2015. The end of our two-year partnership ensures that twice the training is available for women, allowing both organizations to help meet demand.

Both programs will provide a week’s worth of training for women journalists.

ONA’s Accelerator is aimed at women who are leading innovation in digital media. In addition to learning leadership skills and tools for navigating change, participants will focus on a challenge specific to their careers, whether an obstacle to overcome or an aspirational goal to achieve, either within their organizations or as an independent project.

Building off the success of previous years, Poynter’s Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media focuses on the skills and knowledge needed to rise to the highest levels of digital media leadership. Sessions will cover how to develop effective management styles, grow business savvy, navigate newsroom and digital culture, master negotiation tactics, build collaborative teams and coach critical thinking.

You’re welcome to apply to both programs. ONA and Poynter will work together to determine there’s no overlap between the selected classes.

I don’t work for a news company. Can I apply?

Please feel free to apply, but know that we place a priority on journalists who are freelancers or working for news companies.

If you still have questions after reading this page, please contact

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Katie Hawkins-Gaar was Poynter's digital innovation faculty member. She ran the Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media and was one half of the duo…
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