January 23, 2019

Thirty women from around the world will come to Poynter to enhance their leadership skills and cultivate their careers in digital media news organizations.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Jan. 23, 2019) – The Poynter Institute, a global leader in journalism, is pleased to announce the first of three classes selected for its fifth annual Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. A majority of the 240 graduates surveyed from the previous four years of this competitive program report pay raises and promotions, as well as having a greater role in shaping their newsroom’s strategy.

Due to sustained demand, Poynter will again host three distinct women’s leadership seminars, this year with an increased class size of 30 participants. The 90 women selected from a pool of more than 400 applicants are pioneers in digital media who have demonstrated an aptitude for leadership through current projects and references. They are selected by a committee of graduates of the program, with an emphasis to ensure diversity across ethnicity, geography, technology platforms, organization size and skill sets.


Women accepted to Poynter’s 2019 program


Academies in 2019, each with 30 participants


Years of leadership training specifically for women

“Women are half the population, but newsroom leaders aren’t even close to 50 percent women. This can create a deficit in reporting because an important perspective is missing in top-level decision-making,” said Doris Truong, Poynter director of training and diversity. “It’s a privilege for Poynter to train classes of these top-notch journalists who will continue to rise in our industry. The time they spend with us gives them the confidence to push for important initiatives when they get home, including shining a spotlight on untold stories in the community.”

The first class will come to Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg Feb. 24-March 1. The next two classes will take place March 31-April 5 and Oct. 20-25. Participants in the second two classes are already selected and will be announced closer to the teaching dates.

Poynter is pleased to welcome members of the upcoming Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media:

Rachael Bale
Senior Editor
National Geographic

Tanya Basu
Senior Editor, Science
The Daily Beast

Rachel Bowers
Assistant Sports Editor
The Boston Globe

Marina Garcia-Vasquez
Director of Community
Vice Media

Malia Griggs
Director of Social Media
The Daily Beast

Erin Haluschak
Black Press (Canada)

Stephanie Hayes
Deputy Editor, Features
Tampa Bay Times

Erica Hendry
Digital Managing Editor
PBS NewsHour

Katia Hetter
Senior Producer
CNN Digital

Maneeza Iqbal
Senior Online and Social Media Editor

Corvaya Jeffries
Digital Strategist, Content
Gatehouse Media Group

Angela Kim
Audience Development Manager

Christina Leonard
Executive Editor
Cronkite News/Arizona State University

Kristina Lopez
Digital Producer
American Public Media

Melissa Macaya
Video Hub Editor and Producer
The Washington Post

Natasha Madov
Co-founder, Ada

Saira Mueller
Managing Editor
Dot Esports

Priyanka Pant
Senior News Editor and Anchor
NDTV (India)

Elaine Piniat
Audience Engagement Editor

Abby Reimer
Innovation Product Manager

Cara Richardson
News Now Editor

Emily Ristow
Loyalty and Engagement News Director
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Cathy Rubin
Deputy Editor, News Features
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Emma Span
Managing Editor, MLB
The Athletic

Nicole Stockdale
Director of Digital Strategy
Dallas Morning News

Hannah Sung
Manager, Digital Video and Podcasts
TVO (Canada)

Jill Taylor
Deputy Editor, International Edition
The New York Times

Stephanie Toone-Martin
Sponsorship Content Coordinator
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Alexa Ura
Demographics Reporter
The Texas Tribune

Amy Weiss-Meyer
Senior Associate Editor
The Atlantic

During Poynter’s weeklong program, these women will receive one-on-one career coaching from top media executives, learn practical advice on navigating newsroom culture and gain a deep understanding of what it takes to successfully lead today’s digital news organizations. Sessions include a practical “How to Get Sh** Done” panel, a stress-reduction breath workshop, career lessons from past academy members, and a hands-on ethical decision-making class.

“From managing burnout to leading when the future is unclear, today’s journalists face unique challenges. Each guest speaker and session is deliberately chosen with that in mind,” said Katie Hawkins-Gaar, the lead faculty for Poynter’s 2019 Leadership Academies for Women in Digital Media. “It’s incredible to witness the shift as participants become less stressed and more empowered throughout the week.”

She will be joined by the following guest faculty members during the February academy:

  • Sarah Alvarez, director, Outlier Media
  • Adrienne Green, managing editor, The Atlantic
  • Lauren Rabaino, chief of staff, Vox Media
  • Hannah Storm, incoming director & CEO, Ethical Journalism Network
  • Hannah Wise, audience development editor, Dallas Morning News

Green and Wise are both graduates of Poynter’s academy and will be returning as instructors after advancing in their careers. Poynter instructors Kelly McBride, Doris Truong, Cheryl Carpenter and Kristen Hare will also teach at the academy.

“I had the privilege of being a part of and returning as an instructor for this amazing community of ambitious, brilliant media leaders who faced many similar challenges in their organizations no matter what their role was,” said Elite Truong, deputy editor of strategic initiatives at The Washington Post and leadership academy instructor in 2018. “The week at Poynter is unforgettable, but the real life-changing part of this program is the community that develops and supports each person in their career afterward.”

Poynter is committed to continue building this community. In addition to increasing the number of academies in 2018 and 2019, Poynter created day-long women’s empowerment symposiums and re-launched The Cohort newsletter. Hawkins-Gaar also founded, a platform that connects graduates of Poynter’s Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media and ONA’s Women’s Leadership Accelerator with other women in the industry as mentors.

The 2019 Poynter Leadership Academies for Women in Digital Media are made possible in part by support from the Craig Newmark Philanthropies, McClatchy Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Gannett Foundation. Applications for the 2020 Leadership Academies for Women in Digital Media will open in November 2019.


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 conferences and organizations around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, 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. The world’s top journalists and media innovators come to 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 First Amendment and discourse that serves democracy and the public good.

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Mel Grau is the senior product specialist at The Poynter Institute, focusing on Poynter's training experiences and newsletters. She previously edited The Cohort, Poynter’s biweekly…
Mel Grau

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