Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media

DEADLINE: Feb. 14, 2020
TEACHING DATE: June 14-19, 2020
LOCATION: The Poynter Institute
COST: Free for selected applicants

A Poynter teaching partnership with The Washington Post

The Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media is a transformative, tuition-free leadership program that trains journalists of color working in digital media to thrive, professionally and personally.

This seminar fosters honest discourse about the challenges for journalists of color in management roles. It also provides the connections, confidence and skills to confront them. A survey following up with participants from the 2018 academy found:

  • 100% apply something they learned at least once a week
  • 91% tap into their cohort for ideas and support
  • 75% are better at giving feedback to their direct reports

Doris Truong, director of training and diversity at the Poynter Institute, and Carla Broyles, senior editor for recruitment and training at The Washington Post will lead Poynter’s 2020 program.

Accepted applicants will have direct access to top media executives, receive practical advice on career planning and gain a deep understanding of what it takes to successfully lead today’s digital news organizations.

“Undoubtedly some of the important lessons I learned at Poynter played a central role in me securing the new title and pay bump. Based on the advice we received to foster our relationships, I more intentionally cultivated relationships with people I previously hadn’t sought to, who later heavily advocated for my promotion.”

— Karen Hao, artificial intelligence reporter for MIT Technology Review and graduate of the 2019 Diversity Academy


Doris Truong
Director of Training and Diversity
The Poynter Institute

Carla Broyles
Senior Editor for Recruitment and Training
The Washington Post

Instructors from 2019 included:

Martin Baron
Executive Editor
The Washington Post

Cheryl Carpenter
Leadership Faculty
The Poynter Institute

Candi Carter
Executive Producer
The View

Eric Deggans
TV Critic

Sharif Durhams
Digital Editor

Ramón Escobar
Vice President, Talent Recruitment & Development

Teresa Frontado
Digital Director

S. Mitra Kalita
Senior Vice President for News, Opinion and Programming
CNN Digital

Mira Lowe
Director of the Innovation News Center, University of Florida
Incoming President, Journalism & Women Symposium

Kevin Merida
Senior Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
ESPN, The Undefeated

Mizell Stewart III
Senior Director of Talent, Partnerships and News Strategy
Gannett and USA TODAY Network

Benét Wilson
Credit Cards Editor, The Points Guy
Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Aviation Queen LLC

The interactive, week-long academy will focus on critical skills journalists of color need on their paths to leadership in digital journalism and technology. Sessions will explore:

  • Developing effective management styles
  • Understanding journalism business models
  • Navigating newsroom and digital culture
  • Building collaborative teams
  • Managing across differences
  • Audience engagement
  • Emerging technologies
  • Coaching critical thinking

The program will be structured to encourage open and candid discussion and mentoring. Participants will walk away with not only strong leadership skills, but also a built-in support system for the future. All participants will get one-on-one coaching, seek and analyze 360-degree feedback and create a personal leadership strategy.

Read how one graduate used the skills they learned at Poynter’s Diversity Academy to negotiate for a history-making promotion.

Who Should Apply

All journalists of color working in the digital space with leadership responsibilities or demonstrated leadership potential.

Poynter and The Washington Post will select a group of 30 journalists for the program. Because the class is strategically small in size, the selection committee will give preference to emerging leaders currently working in digital media who demonstrate an aptitude and potential for leadership through current projects and references.

“Unlike any training I’ve ever had before, this academy made me consider myself as a direct driver — not passive passenger — in what’s next in my career.”

— Ernest Owens, writer-at-large for Philadelphia magazine and graduate of the 2018 Diversity Academy


Schedule subject to change

The schedule for 2020 will come soon.

Here’s a look at the 2019 schedule.

3:30 p.m. Introductions
4 p.m. “The Real Me”
5:15 p.m. Give and Get
6:15 p.m. Reception

9 a.m. Leaders, What Do You Stand For? (And How Do They Know?)
10:30 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. Your ViewPoynt Feedback
12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:45 p.m. Building Your Personal Development Plan
2 p.m. Why Can’t We Do Things My Way?
3:30 p.m. Group photo
4 p.m. Leading From Where You Are
5 p.m. One-on-one coaching

8 a.m. One-on-one coaching
9:30 a.m. Leading an Agile 24-Hour News Operation
10:45 a.m. Break
11 a.m. Using Audience Strategies and Metrics to Grow Audience
12:30 p.m. Lunch
2 p.m. How Project Management Can Change Your Life
3:30 p.m. Break
3:45 p.m. Financial Leadership and the Business of Digital Media
5 p.m. One-on-one coaching

8 a.m. One-on-one coaching
9:30 a.m. Building a Team from Scratch in a Hurry
10:45 a.m. Break
11 a.m. How to Get Stuff Done (Despite All of the Obstacles)
12:30 p.m. Lunch
2 p.m. Pushing for Diversity When You Can’t Hire
3:30 p.m. Break
3:45 p.m. Turning Ideas into Programs That Really Work
5 p.m. Lightning Round: What Haven’t We Talked About?

9 a.m. Creating Your Personal Advisory Board
10:15 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m. New Times, New Ethics: The Power of Process
12:15 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. Becoming a Two-Track Coach: It’s All About Relationships
3 p.m. Break
3:15 p.m. Difficult Conversations: Getting Smarter About Conflict
5 p.m. Lightning Round: What Haven’t We Talked About?

8:30 a.m. The Extra Burden We Carry
9:30 a.m. It’s Your Turn
12:15 p.m. Lunch
1:15 p.m. Taking It Home
1:30 p.m. Graduation

“The Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media was one of the best experiences of my professional career. I gained so much knowledge, had access to some of this industry’s most respected journalists, and made relationships I wouldn’t have been able to build if it weren’t for Poynter.”

— Brandon López, digital media manager at WPBF 25 and graduate of the 2019 Diversity Academy


Thanks to the generous support of program sponsors, tuition for the academy is free.

Employers are encouraged to support participant travel. A limited number of travel stipends will be available.


Check out our FAQs. If you still have questions, please email us at seminars@poynter.org.

Thank you to our teaching partner:

This program is tuition-free thanks to the generous support from our sponsors: