November 16, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2021) – The Poynter Institute, a global leader in journalism and fact-checking, is pleased to announce the 16 journalists selected from more than 120 applicants for its prestigious Power of Diverse Voices: Writing Workshop for Journalists of Color.

“The Diverse Voices program is crucial to empowering journalists of color to tell their stories from their perspectives,” said Poynter’s director of training and diversity, Doris Truong. “Their work is sometimes watered down by colleagues who don’t understand their experiences. This program encourages our participants to find outlets where they can share their stories authentically and in their own voice.”

Now one of Poynter’s most competitive programs, Power of Diverse Voices, led by veteran editor Tom Huang, is a transformative, four-day seminar that helps journalists of color find their voice and build skills for writing opinion pieces and personal essays. Over four days, participants receive dedicated writing time, one-on-one coaching and small-group instruction. Like all flagship Poynter programs, Power of Diverse Voices emphasizes fact-based writing, solid reporting and creating safe spaces for true introspection.

This fall, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the seminar will be held virtually. We plan for the 2022 program to return to in-person.

Participants in this year’s workshops will join an active and successful alumni group. Their work has appeared in podcasts such as “This Land” series by Rebecca Nagle, winner of the 2020 American Mosaic Journalism Prize; in local news such as this column in the Chicago Sun-Times by Ismael Perez about living with an addict during the pandemic; in national outlets such as María Inés Zamudio’s column in The Lily on suicide in the Mexican community; and with other publishers including Esther Tseng’s column on Catapult about her white friend’s silence after the Atlanta shootings.

“Before this experience, I thought I had figured out what voice people wanted to hear from me. Someone polished. Someone clean. Someone mature,” said Perez, a graduate of Power of Diverse Voices in April 2021. “But after meeting with (instructor) Eric (Deggans), where he gave us feedback on our drafts, he could see I had a wall up and wasn’t being true to who I was as a person and as a writer. I didn’t feel pressure from him or the class to change ASAP. I felt a warm feeling of acceptance that let me become more vulnerable and real. I learned how to use my experiences as Mexican American, a queer person and someone who has experienced living with someone with addiction, and make people see themselves in my writing.”

The new Power of Diverse Voices class will attend the virtual seminar Nov. 18-21. Participants were selected with an emphasis on ensuring diversity across race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, geography, technology platforms, organization size and skill sets.

“Some are freelancers, while others work for metro newsrooms. Some are at public radio stations, while others are with new community news initiatives. Each of them wants to find and develop their writing voice,” said Huang, the lead faculty and assistant managing editor for journalism initiatives at The Dallas Morning News. “And they all want to amplify other voices, too. The faculty and I will do everything we can to support them on this path.”

Poynter is pleased to welcome members of the upcoming Power of Diverse Voices workshop:

  • Yousef Baig, The Sacramento Bee
  • Monica Castillo, Colorado Public Radio
  • Natalia Contreras, Austin American-Statesman
  • Bedatri Datta Choudhury, Documentary Magazine
  • Colbi Edmonds, Boston University
  • Marina Fang, HuffPost
  • Saher Khan, PBS NewsHour
  • Quinci LeGardye, Freelance
  • Joshua Mackey, Freelance
  • Laura Morel, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting
  • Elizabeth Myong, KERA
  • Sonia Rao, The Washington Post
  • Irene Romulo, Cicero Independiente
  • Heaven Taylor-Wynn, MediaWise, Poynter
  • Jasmine Vaughn-Hall, York Daily Record/Sunday News
  • Korsha Wilson, Freelance

These participants will learn from Huang as the lead faculty, as well as the following guest faculty and speakers:

  • Eric Deggans, TV critic, NPR, and adjunct instructor, Duke University
  • Samantha Ragland, faculty, Poynter 
  • Fernanda Santos, professor of practice, Arizona State University, and contributing columnist for Washington Post Opinions
  • Aisha Sultan, home and family editor and columnist, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Doris Truong, director of training and diversity, Poynter 

RELATED TRAINING: Applications are open for the 2022 Leadership Academy for Diversity in Media


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 newsrooms, conferences and organizations around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum, with hundreds of interactive courses and tens of thousands of registered international users. The Institute’s website produces 24-hour coverage about media, ethics, technology and the business of news. Poynter is the home of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the International Fact-Checking Network and MediaWise, a digital information literacy project for young people, first-time voters and senior citizens. The world’s top journalists and media innovators rely on Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcasters. This work builds public awareness about journalism, media, the First Amendment and discourse that serves democracy and the public good. Learn more at

Media Contact:

Tina Dyakon
Director of Marketing
The Poynter Institute

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Mel Grau is the director of program management at The Poynter Institute. Mel was formerly the senior product specialist, focusing on Poynter's training experiences and…
Mel Grau

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