March 29, 2019

PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 29, 2019) – The Poynter Institute, a global leader in journalism, announces that Bridget Donovan, a former director of online education at the University of South Florida and e-learning partner for NBC News, will oversee Poynter’s News University (NewsU) as the interactive learning manager.

NewsU offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum, with hundreds of interactive courses and tens of thousands of registered users from around the world.

“NewsU is critical to serving our global community of journalists, students and educators,” said Neil Brown, president of the Poynter Institute. “Poynter has been a leader in improving the craft of journalism through e-learning, which is an extremely effective approach to professional development and less costly in dollars and time. Bridget’s deep experience designing online curriculum for academic, journalism and international audiences will ensure that we teach more people, more skills in ways that are fresh and relevant.”

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Donovan started her career working at, contributing to PBS Kids, PBS Teacherline and a variety of digital offerings. Now a 15-year veteran of instructional design, she held leadership roles in:

  • Driving growth of accredited online e-learning programs at the University of South Florida, the tenth-largest, top-tier research university in the United States
  • Partnering on the debut of NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News
  • Managing regional training for Espresso Education, the award-winning digital learning service, in London and East England
  • Launching the U.S. digital education service for the London office of Espresso Education
  • Consulting with brands and businesses about engaging learners online through her own company, media-ecology

“I’m passionate about Poynter’s mission and critical role in journalism and democracy,” said Donovan. “I’m thrilled to be a part of Poynter’s News University and excited to meet the dynamic needs of accomplished and aspiring journalists through compelling, interactive online journalism and media training programs.”

Donovan has two bachelor’s degrees from Syracuse University, one in child and family studies and one in psychology. She also has a master’s degree in educational research from Cambridge University, where she conducted and published applied research on human-computer interaction.

“Bridget’s success working with a variety of learning styles will empower Poynter to enrich our teaching — not only online through News University but also across our in-person workshops,” said Doris Truong, Poynter’s director of training and diversity. “She’ll bring fresh eyes and innovative ideas to the institute as we further our work so that journalists can do their best.”

Poynter migrated learning management systems in late 2018. Donovan will lead a team of interactive learning producers to continue the transition for long-term NewsU members and leverage technology to create a richer learning experience for journalists, students, educators and media practitioners across the globe.

Donovan starts at Poynter on March 29. Follow her on Twitter.

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. Poynter is the home of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the International Fact-Checking Network and MediaWise, a teen digital information literacy project. 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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