Director of MediaWise
Katy Byron is a third-generation journalist with nearly 20 years’ experience in social media, TV, wire service, print and digital news. She joined The Poynter Institute as the Editor & Program Manager for MediaWise —a groundbreaking digital media literacy initiative — in October 2018. The MediaWise program teaches Americans of all ages how to sort fact from fiction online using professional fact-checking skills. Under her leadership, MediaWise has grown from a program focused on teenagers to include programs for college students and senior citizens. Since Byron began managing MediaWise, the program has reached more than 20 million people and its online educational content and both virtual and in-person trainings have been viewed more than 44 million times. She led the launch of the MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network in 2019 which joined the International Fact-Checking Network as a verified signatory a year later, the only teen-focused fact-checking network to do so in the world. She also created the MediaWise Ambassadors program in 2019 working with prominent journalists and social media influencers promoting the MediaWise program’s mission.
Byron is passionate about news and the development of new storytelling styles and techniques using innovative technology. Prior to Poynter, Byron was the first Managing Editor for News at Snapchat, overseeing coverage of the 2016 U.S. presidential election as well as all other domestic and international news on the platform. Under her leadership, Snapchat expanded its Our Stories news coverage beyond politics to include breaking news and international news, for audiences worldwide in more than seven languages. She spearheaded the app’s first news coverage of war zones through user-generated content with stories in 2016 about the invasion of Mosul, Iraq. Byron led the growth of viewership for Our Stories news to tens of millions of users worldwide and doubled the number of news stories on the platform. Byron also field produced the pilot episode of Snapchat’s first original show — Good Luck America, hosted by Peter Hamby — which won an Edward R. Murrow in its debut season. She also produced an interview with then-Vice President Joe Biden in the West Wing for the show.
Prior to Snapchat, from 2012 to 2015, Byron worked at CNBC headquarters and produced for anchor, The New York Times columnist and ‘Too Big to Fail’ author, Andrew Ross Sorkin on the network’s flagship morning show Squawk Box. While at CNBC, Byron produced interviews with dozens of Fortune 500 CEOs and lawmakers including former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and former U.S. treasury secretaries Jack Lew, Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers.
Byron began her career at CNN and spent nearly 10 years there covering breaking news, international news, politics and business news in New York, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Byron won a George Peabody Award in 2011 for CNN’s Arab Spring coverage and another for CNN’s 2008 U.S. presidential election coverage. When she was just a cub assignment editor, Byron interviewed billionaire investor Warren Buffett on-camera for all CNN platforms. Later, she was the network’s lead producer for economics and business news during the 2012 election and helped develop the use of the CNN “Magic Wall,” or touchscreen monitor, for business and economics news segments, including the monthly jobs report. She also did extensive reporting on the fiscal cliff and debt crisis in Europe.
Byron lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband Pat Poats and son Teddy.