August 15, 2022

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Aug. 15, 2022) – The Poynter Institute, a global nonprofit dedicated to journalistic excellence and headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, has announced a new partnership that will bring journalism’s critical role in democracy to the largest performing arts center in the Southeast. 

Poynter at The Straz will feature conversations about the biggest issues of the day with local and national journalists, opinion leaders and experts in arts, technology and science.

“Beginning this October, this newly announced speaker series will be a fantastic complement to the diverse programming initiatives at the Straz Center,” said Summer Bohnenkamp, chief programming and marketing officer at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. “We are excited to offer such impactful evenings of conversation to our audiences here in Tampa Bay, and we look forward to a meaningful partnership with the Poynter Institute.”  

The series will explore topics important to the quality of life in the Tampa Bay region and beyond — from sea level rise to the community’s emergence as ‘Champa Bay’ to the U.S. elections and war in Ukraine. 

“We hope to engage our guests and the audience in the lively art of conversation – talking about meaningful issues in a way that’s smart and entertaining, that feels energetic and not a chore,” said Poynter President Neil Brown. 

Each interactive event in the series will offer a space for open and honest dialogue that inspires public debate, challenges perspectives and contributes to a healthy democracy. Segments for audience participation will be built into each production. 

The series embodies Poynter’s work to strengthen democracy through quality journalism and stoke civil and fact-based expression through in-person and online events, gatherings, teaching and community building.

Julie Pace, senior vice president and executive editor of The Associated Press, talks with editorial staff at the AP bureau in Mexico City, on Dec. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Julie Pace, senior vice president and executive editor of The Associated Press, will headline the first event of the series on Tuesday, Oct. 11. Before she started leading the 176-year-old organization’s global news operations in 250 locations, Pace spent some of her earlier years in journalism at the former Tampa Tribune, which was acquired by the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times in 2016. 

“We’re thrilled to welcome Julie Pace back to Tampa Bay for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at how the AP is meeting the moment,” Brown said. “The AP is a leader in journalistic performance and we anticipate the audience will be fascinated to hear stories from their newsroom.”

Top left: Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady calls a play against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game on Jan. 23 in Tampa, Florida (AP Photo/Jason Behnken). Top right: A fire truck drives along California Highway 96 as the McKinney Fire burns in Klamath National Forest, California on July 30. (AP Photo/Noah Berger) Bottom left: A sticker is handed to a voter on Election Day in 2010, in Waterville, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) Bottom right: A neighbor walks on the debris of a burning house, destroyed after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on March 24. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana).

Guests will learn how the AP approaches its coverage of the world’s top stories — like tracking climate change and declaring winners in elections — that billions of people rely on each day. Pace also will discuss the AP’s mission to elevate fact-based journalism in an environment rife with mis- and disinformation. Brown will moderate the conversation.  

Tickets will be available to the public on Friday, Aug. 19, at Poynter at The Straz is supported in part by The Joy McCann Foundation. Thanks to the Frank E. Duckwall Foundation, VIP tickets include exclusive access to cocktail receptions and intimate pre-program interviews with keynote speakers. Sponsorships are also available. For more information, please contact

The spring events of Poynter at The Straz will be announced in the coming months and include conversations on topics like what happens when sports, politics and culture collide and how climate change is affecting the Tampa Bay region.

Media Contact:

Tina Dyakon
Director of Marketing
The Poynter Institute

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 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 U.S. First Amendment, and discourse that serves democracy and the public good. Learn more at

About Straz Center

One of the largest performing arts complexes in the country, the 335,000 square-foot Straz Center provides an environment for a wide variety of world-class events. It boasts an extensive Broadway series and is nationally respected for producing grand opera, as well as presenting a wide variety of concerts, performances and events. In a typical season, more than 600,000 patrons attend 1,500+ events at the Straz Center. Learn more at

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.

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