April 4, 2014
New Poynter President Tim Franklin speaks at an institute reception Thursday night. (Ren LaForme/Poynter)

With 49 days left in a self-imposed 100-day deadline to institute progress as Poynter’s new president, Tim Franklin offered a glimpse Thursday night at elements of his strategic plan, including an international fact-checking summit scheduled in London this summer.

Speaking at a Poynter reception, Franklin said among the school’s top priorities will be delivering journalism training and news to more people online, through News University and Poynter.org.

Poynter has been building training programs recently tailored to fit specific news organizations. On Thursday, Poynter announced a new partnership with the E.W. Scripps Co. that will include in-person workshops, online seminars and webinars. In February, the institute disclosed it was expanding its online training program with the McClatchy Co. and, in March, it shared plans to provide no-cost online training to ASNE members.

“There’s never been a time in journalism when training has been more important,” Franklin said.

Franklin acknowledged the media environment has become more splintered than ever, but said this “messiness” has also been a democratizing force. Journalists have a vital role in making sure citizens have the information they need, he said.

The Global Fact-Checking Summit in June is part of that effort.

“We’re going to pull in journalists across the world and train them to fact-check politicians,” Franklin said. “Think of the implications of that and potential of that across the globe.”

Franklin urged an audience of Poynter faculty, trustees and members of the public to look past the closing of Digital First Media’s Thunderdome and layoffs at organizations like The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger. The media industry is transforming, and is still “in the middle innings” of that process, he said.

As “the world’s premier institute for teaching journalism,” Franklin said, Poynter will have a crucial role in training the news media, from legacy organizations to independent digital startups, and serving as a “bridge between the old and the new.”

Franklin also announced plans to host a speaker series in the Tampa Bay area and to continue to offer programs like the Write Field that benefit the local community.

“Ultimately it’s the quality of the teaching here that matters, and that’s what we’re going to focus on,” Franklin said.

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