Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media

DEADLINE: Feb. 14, 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 is subject to change.

Getting Acquainted

4 p.m. Welcome

4:15 p.m. “The Real Me”

5:30 p.m. Give and Get

6:30 p.m. Informal Q&A with special guest

Yourself and Your Leadership

9 a.m. What’s Your Approach to Leadership (and How’s It Working for You?)

10:45 a.m. ViewPoynts Feedback: The View From the Front Lines

12:30 p.m. Lunch

1:45 p.m. Why Can’t We Do Things My Way?: Myers-Briggs and Management

3:30 p.m. Leading From Where You Are

Becoming an Operational Wizard

9 a.m. How to Be Effective No Matter Your Resources

10:45 a.m. Secure the Funding for Your Passion Project

12:15 p.m. Lunch

1:30 p.m. Using Audience Strategies and Metrics to Grow Audience 

3:15 p.m. Project Management: How to Break Down Silos

5 p.m. Building Your Personal Development Plan 

5:15 p.m. What Are Your Takeaways So Far?

Building a Diverse, Effective Team

9 a.m. New Times, New Ethics

10:45 a.m. You Belong: Defeating Imposter Syndrome 

12 p.m. Group photo

12:15 p.m. Lunch

1:15 p.m. Managing Across Generational Divides

2:45 p.m. How to Push for Diversity When You Can’t Hire

4:15 p.m. Stay in the Room: It’s Going to Get Messy

5:30 p.m. Let’s Unpack the Day

Approaches to Leadership

9 a.m. Difficult Conversations and Role Play: Getting Smarter About Conflict

11 a.m. Unconference sessions 

1:30 p.m. #UsToo: Building Trust in Newsrooms

3:15 p.m. One-on-one coaching

6:15 p.m. Reception

7:30 p.m. Dinner with special guest

Next Steps

9 a.m. It’s Your Turn: Presenting Personal Development Plans

11:45 a.m Lunch

12:45 p.m. Taking It Home

1 p.m. Graduation and networking

“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. Or hear from our alumni: Suleman Din wrote about his experience in the cohort, “no code switching required,” and Eva-Maria Ayala wrote about overcoming her imposter syndrome.

If you still have questions, please email us at seminars@poynter.org.

Thank you to our teaching partner:

The Washington Post

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

2020 Diversity Academy Sponsors