August 2, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Aug. 2, 2018) – The Poynter Institute, a global leader in journalism, and the Charles Koch Foundation are extending and expanding a tuition-free program to provide training to student journalists and to encourage campus media to support civil discourse around controversial topics.

“We are witnessing a decline in our ability to have reasonable public dialogue around provocative ideas across the country, including on college campuses. Journalism, when done well, is a conduit for public dialogue,” said Poynter Senior Vice President Kelly McBride. “The collegiate press is particularly beleaguered, and I’m grateful that we can expand our ability to help them make a difference in their campus communities.”

Poynter will partner once again with the Associated Collegiate Press to identify nine student media organizations to participate in the initiative’s second year, which triples the program’s reach. Called the Poynter College Media Project, the program combines in-person training, online teaching and support for a campus project geared toward achieving two goals: improving student journalism and modeling civil dialogue through news coverage and related events.

“Media plays a vital role in the free flow of knowledge essential to society,” said Sarah Ruger, Charles Koch Foundation director of free expression. “Poynter’s program takes that one step further, highlighting the critical and continuing role a free press has in facilitating conversations on even our most difficult issues.”

College student media organizations selected for the program will receive:

  • Budget to spend on a reporting project or event that advances civil discourse on campus.
  • Two half-day, on-campus workshops about reporting, editing and storytelling for their staff.
  • Exclusive admission to four online training events throughout the academic year, during which they’ll hear from professionals and other campuses about their projects.
  • Training on the best techniques for watchdog reporting that holds the powerful accountable and establishes campus media as a fair and trusted advocate for students.
  • Insights into the tools of dialogue that model the search for mutual understanding and tolerance through reporting projects and real-life events.

RELATED ARTICLE: What we do with money from the Koch Foundation

In addition to expanding the program to more campuses, Poynter will increase the program’s reach by offering a series of webinars through its e-learning division, News University. These webinars will teach accountability journalism skills and will be available tuition-free to all student media outlets. 

The Poynter College Media Project will once again be led by Poynter adjunct faculty Elissa Yancey, MSEd. Yancey is a longtime and award-winning journalism educator who has worked extensively at the University of Cincinnati as well as with Poynter. 

The three campuses that participated in the 2017-18 Poynter College Media Project were Iowa State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Howard University. Learn more about the students’ experience here

Applications for the tuition-free 2018-19 program are open now through Aug. 31, 2018.

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 organizational sites 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 protects discourse that serves democracy and the public good. 

Per Poynter’s Ethics Policy, funders do not influence the program curriculum or content. A list of Poynter’s largest 2018 funders can be found here
About the Charles Koch Foundation 
For more than five decades, Charles Koch’s philanthropy has inspired bold new ideas to help people improve their lives. Inspired by recognition that free people are capable of extraordinary things, the Charles Koch Foundation supports research, educational programs, and dialogue to advance a society of equal rights and an understanding of how people can best live together in peace and prosperity and challenge convention. The Charles Koch Foundation provides grants to support a wide range of inquiry including criminal justice and policing reform, free expression and open inquiry, foreign policy, economic opportunity, and innovation. To learn more visit

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