By:
January 7, 2022

One of the defining features of the Media Transformation Challenge (MTC) Program: A Poynter Institute Executive Fellowship is the coaching component. Each Fellow has a coach to be their adviser and companion throughout the yearlong program, as well as access to the other MTC coaches, to further their support network. 

The role of an MTC coach is multifaceted: An adviser who helps Fellows apply program tools and concepts to their live, real-world performance challenge. A trusted confidant who gets to know Fellows and their leadership practice. A yearlong source of both accountability and connection to all the resources of the MTC program, including the alumni network. And someone with whom Fellows often have contact well beyond the end of the program.

Poynter is pleased to announce the coaches for the 2022 MTC program: Joining longtime coaches Karen Gordon and Quentin Hope are Amanda Barrett, Lauren Gustus, Stéphane Mayoux and Robyn Tomlin. 

RELATED: A conversation with my MTC coach about staying curious and vigilant

Along with executive director Charlie Baum and founder Doug Smith, the 2022 Fellows will have access to a group of eight coaches and program leaders with a vast range of expertise and deep level of commitment to their growth, development, and success. This is a key program resource and differentiator, in which MTC makes a substantial, unmatched investment.

Meet the newest MTC coaches:

Amanda Barrett

Amanda Barrett is vice president & head of news audience at The Associated Press in New York, where she oversees digital news and global news coordination, including the AP Nerve Center. 

Amanda is the only Fellow to have gone through MTC twice. In the 2017 cohort, she worked on developing an editorial planning tool that AP uses to share its plan with customers. In the 2020 cohort, she developed an inclusive storytelling program that has helped AP expand its coverage of many different communities around the world and brought more diverse voices and sources to the fore.

Amanda started in journalism as a teenager when she attended a minority journalism program at The Roanoke (Va.) Times. She worked in sports there and at the Orlando Sentinel before spending 10 years at Newsday in New York in a variety of editing roles in the newsroom and for the news organization’s online sites. She joined AP in 2007 and helped start the East Region editing hub and led the New York City news team before moving to the Nerve Center in 2015. She lives in Long Island with her longtime partner.

Lauren Gustus

Lauren Gustus became executive editor of The Salt Lake Tribune in the fall of 2020. The Utah news organization was the first and remains the only major metro to transition to a nonprofit. One of The Tribune’s long-term goals is to prove there is a successful model for sustainable local news.

Gustus previously worked for McClatchy as West Region Editor, overseeing 10 news organizations in Idaho, Washington and California, including the company’s flagship, The Sacramento Bee. During her time at McClatchy, she helped launch funder-supported reporting labs focused on education, land and water issues and equity that served as models for community engagement and expansion. She also helped defend the organization in a targeted misinformation campaign California Rep. Devin Nunes started against his hometown news organization, The Fresno Bee.

Gustus led The Sacramento Bee’s participation in the Major Metro Table Stakes program, an outgrowth of MTC, in which The Bee focused on accelerating McClatchy’s prioritization of consumer revenue.

She worked with Fellow MTC coach Robyn Tomlin, 2019 Fellow Mackenzie Warren, Charlie Baum and Doug Smith to design and lead the Gannett/McClatchy Table Stakes program, a cross-company collaboration that helped grow a diverse cohort of coaches in the performance-driven change arena.

Stéphane Mayoux

Stéphane Mayoux is an executive coach whose professional DNA is rooted in 25 years of BBC international journalism. Stéphane has been closely supporting media companies across Europe through their digital transitions. He is a fully accredited psychotherapist and sees individual clients in his private practice in London.

For over 20 years, Stéphane produced and edited BBC radio and television programmes about Africa, for Africa and from an African perspective. Before Stéphane stepped aside to focus on digital transformation, he was the editor of Focus on Africa TV on BBC World Television.

Stéphane has used his coaching skills to co-design and co-deliver three years of digital change workshops within BBC News. He is now in the midst of Year 3 of Table Stakes Europe, a digital transformation programme for local, regional and national newspapers across Europe.

As a psychotherapist, Stéphane specializes in trauma and cross-racial therapy. Stéphane holds a Masters in Business Management from one of France’s leading business schools, ESCP. He also holds an MSc in Psychotherapy from the Metanoia Institute/Middlesex University in the UK.

Robyn Tomlin

Robyn Tomlin is a veteran journalist, media executive and leader with a passion for using performance-driven change efforts to help news organizations transform and grow. Robyn is currently vice president for local news at McClatchy where she works to support local newsroom leaders across the country in their quest to build sustainable and healthy local news operations. Prior to taking on that role, Robyn served as the president and editor of The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., and the southeast regional editor for McClatchy.

She was first introduced to the performance-driven change methodology in 2015 as a participant/team leader for the inaugural Knight-Temple Table Stakes program in her role as vice president and managing editor at The Dallas Morning News. She later worked closely with several McClatchy teams that participated in the Major Metro Table Stakes program and the UNC-Knight Foundation Table Stakes Newsroom Initiative, she served as a coach with the Poynter Table Stakes program and she helped organize and lead the Gannett-McClatchy Table Stakes program as coach and trainer.

Robyn has deep experience in digital innovation and content strategy. She served as vice president of communications and chief digital officer of Pew Research Center, a non-profit, nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, D.C. She was also the founding editor of Digital First Media’s Project Thunderdome in New York City. Prior to that, Robyn spent a decade with the (now-defunct) New York Times Regional Media Group, serving as the company’s director of editorial innovation and as the top editor of three dailies: the StarNews in Wilmington, N.C., the Ocala (Fla.) Star-Banner and the TimesDaily in Florence, Alabama.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Robyn started her career as a reporter in suburban Pittsburgh and later in Asheville, N.C. She taught digital journalism at Georgetown University and has presented at conferences and workshops across the U.S. and in Europe. A four-time Pulitzer Prize jurist, she currently sits on the boards of directors for the News Leaders Association, the National Press Foundation, the UNC Hussman School of Media and Journalism’s Board of Advisors and the North Carolina Open Government Coalition.

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Mel Grau is the senior product specialist at The Poynter Institute, focusing on Poynter's training experiences and newsletters. She previously edited The Cohort, Poynter’s biweekly…
Mel Grau

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