October 15, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2019) – The Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism education center with more than 40 years of experience transforming newsrooms and journalists, and Press Forward, a post-MeToo, female-founded start-up dedicated to creating healthy newsroom environments, are partnering to provide sexual harassment training specifically for media organizations.

The new Poynter-Press Forward training program, called #UsToo: Building Trust in Newsrooms, is distinct because it is designed by journalists, for journalists. It applies the most current best practices and research around workplace discrimination to a newsroom setting, using relatable case studies, interactive sessions and industry insiders to engage and affect change for all types of news organizations.

“After the first wave of #MeToo stories dominated the news cycle, dozens of newsrooms approached Poynter seeking training on sexual harassment,” said Kelly McBride, Poynter senior vice president and ethics chair. “Working in collaboration with our partners at Press Forward, we set out to learn why the existing training doesn’t work. Then we built training that will transform newsrooms and help journalists do better journalism and recognize how power works.” 

Power is the key word; it’s not just about sexual harassment. That’s one reason other training programs fail, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The in-newsroom Poynter-Press Forward program will discuss harassment, discrimination and abuse of power while demonstrating how to create safe work environments. The program was built in a way that emphasizes the intersection of ethics, values and power. 

“Nearly half of all female journalists will experience harassment sometime during their careers, most likely at work, and it won’t be reported,” said Carolyn McGourty Supple, co-founder and chief visionary officer of Press Forward. “To eradicate this issue, a holistic approach is needed; training is a crucial component. Our training is rooted not only in awareness of the law, but it will address how to prevent abuses of power and foster ethical and civil workplaces.”

The material is pertinent for all employees, with targeted training for those in management and leadership roles. It meets all legal and established standards, and can be adjusted to incorporate training requirements by state laws.

The development of the training curriculum was made possible through sponsorship by the Dow Jones Foundation, McClatchy Foundation and CBS.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to be a better leader in the #MeToo era

Poynter will match each newsroom with two trainers, all of whom are journalists with extensive newsroom experience. Poynter-Press Forward trainers include:

Cheryl Carpenter, leadership faculty member at The Poynter Institute. Previously, she was the bureau chief of McClatchy’s Washington, D.C. newsroom.

Caridad Hernandez, a seven-time Emmy award-winning executive producer now based in Washington, D.C. 

Kelly McBride, senior vice president at The Poynter Institute and chair of the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Leadership at Poynter.

Carolyn McGourty Supple, co-founder and chief visionary officer for Press Forward and visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin.  Previously, she was a management consultant and producer at ABC News.

Gloria Riviera, co-founder of Press Forward and a correspondent with ABC News. She is based in Washington, D.C. and covers a wide array of topics for “Nightline.”

Christopher Sheridan, an award-winning journalist, content creator and media executive who has built and led content teams at some of the biggest media companies, including ESPN, CNBC, NBC and ABC. He is now a leadership consultant and a professor at Wake Forest University.

Hannah Storm, the CEO of the Ethical Journalism Network, the former director of the International News Safety Institute and previously worked at the BBC, Reuters and The Times.

Doris Truong, director of training and diversity at The Poynter Institute. She previously was an editor at The Washington Post and The Dallas Morning News.

Butch Ward, a journalist and teacher of journalists for nearly five decades. He was managing editor of both The Baltimore News American and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Jan Winburn teaches in the University of Georgia’s MFA narrative nonfiction program. Previously, she was a senior editor at CNN.

See more details about #UsToo: Building Trust in Newsrooms.

Poynter-Press Forward trainers piloted the new program during the first two sessions of Poynter’s Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media and in Poynter’s premier leadership seminar, Leadership Academy. Feedback from the diverse group of participants helped inform improvements and updates as the program developed over the course of a year. 

“It made me realize just how prevalent sexual assault is in newsrooms across the country,” said one participant in the women’s leadership academy. “It was helpful to learn about specific ways as a manager I can support colleagues in these situations.”

The first newsroom to experience the Poynter-Press Forward the program will be The Wall Street Journal.

“A culture of respect, equality and civility has long been a hallmark of The Wall Street Journal,” said Karen Pensiero, managing editor at The Wall Street Journal. “So we are delighted to have the chance to be part of a pilot to test and help shape Poynter and Press Forward’s new approach to anti-harassment training for the news industry.”

The Poynter-Press Forward training program is one type of custom training that Poynter offers entire newsrooms. Since 2014, Poynter has forged corporate training partnerships with more than 100 major media organizations including the USA Today Network, McClatchy, ESPN, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, NPR, National Geographic and Univision. Poynter faculty teach digital skills, writing, editing and storytelling, leadership, broadcast journalism and ethical decision-making.

If your newsroom is interested in the Poynter-Press Forward training or other custom teaching, contact


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.

About Press Forward 

Press Forward is a nonprofit and nonpartisan initiative whose mission is to create a safe work environment and elevate the stature of women in the workplace, while promoting civility, parity and advancement of minorities and women equally, beginning in the newsroom. We envision workplace cultures in which journalists uphold the integrity of the American press by working together in a way that is civil, safe, fair and void of harassment and abuse of power, and where men and women of diverse backgrounds are treated with parity. We focus on creating systemic change through research, education, training and thought leadership, working collaboratively with journalism schools, industry associations, working journalists and newsrooms. We are comprised of award-winning TV and print journalists, CEOs, lawyers, nonprofit professionals and management consultants, who are passionate about the role of the American press in a free society and dedicated to maintaining its integrity for service to the American public. Currently, Press Forward operates as a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives and can accept donations via their 501(c)3 status.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
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

More News

Back to News