August 12, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Aug. 12, 2020) – The Poynter Institute is pleased to announce the second of three classes selected for its sixth annual Leadership Academy for Women in Media. This elite group of 30 women will convene online in 2020 and in person in 2021. They join a network of more than 360 graduates who experience significant personal and professional transformation through the leadership program.

“This is an impressive class of top-level decision-makers, including publishers, executive and senior editors, and directors,” said Doris Truong, Poynter’s director of training and diversity. “I am proud Poynter can bring these leaders together to build confidence, capacity and connection at one of the most challenging times in history. They will lead their news organizations — and our industry — forward.”

As in years past, participants will receive one-on-one 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 news and media organizations. Unlike previous leadership academies, the majority of the program will take place online to ensure safety during the pandemic. Participants — who met virtually this spring — opted to attend an online program Sept. 13-18. They will also convene for a final workshop in person next year, with unprecedented access to Poynter’s leadership coaches in between. The need for leadership training was too urgent to delay.

The 2020 Leadership Academy for Women in Media is co-led by longtime organizer, Katie Hawkins-Gaar, and Poynter faculty Samantha Ragland.

“Between lively and thoughtful sessions, we are building in a lot of breaks, reflection time, and optional after-hours events, like group doodling and yoga,” said Ragland. “The power of this program — speaking as a former participant and instructor — is the opportunity to pause and just drink from the well. The conversations and connections are rehydrating. I believe the oasis can still occur online, and I’m excited for the women who are as excited about this virtual adventure as I am.”

NPR newscaster Korva Coleman will jumpstart the week of training with an off-the-record keynote address about her 30-year career at NPR, thoughts on journalism and approach to overcoming imposter syndrome. Interactive sessions will cover managing performance remotely and advocating for yourself and others.

“This is one of our most accomplished classes yet. The women in this cohort are leading newsrooms and teams, and have a ton of responsibility on their shoulders,” said Hawkins-Gaar, founder of The Cohort newsletter and the Digital Women Leaders coaching initiative. “We want to give them the most helpful, relevant and reinvigorating training possible. We’ve reimagined the program curriculum to meet these leaders where they are.”

The following guest faculty will join Hawkins-Gaar and Ragland in September:

  • Cheryl Carpenter, leadership faculty, Poynter
  • Kristen Hare, editor, Locally, Poynter
  • Mira Lowe, assistant dean for student experiences and director of the Innovation News Center, University of Florida
  • Kelly McBride, senior vice president and ethics chair, Poynter
  • Robyn Tomlin, president & editor at News & Observer/Herald-Sun and Southeast regional editor at McClatchy
  • Doris Truong, director of training and diversity, Poynter

Meet the September 2020 cohort

The 30 women in the September cohort come from all over the United States as well as Canada, West Africa and the U.K. They were selected by a committee of graduates and Poynter faculty, with an emphasis to ensure diversity across ethnicity, geography, technology platforms, organization size and skill sets.

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

Adesola Ade-Unuigbe
Head of Content and Digital Ventures

Wren Bach
Design Lead
Los Angeles Times

Jen Beard
Digital Senior Producer
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Jess Bellville
Digital Content Manager
Twin Cities PBS

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye
Deputy Managing Editor
Indian Country Today

Rossilynne Culgan

Carley Fortune
Executive Editor
Refinery29 Canada

Angela Greiling Keane
Editorial Director for States and Canada

Jamie Hancock
North Texas Editor; Intern Program Coordinator
The Dallas Morning News

Jennifer Hefty
Content Strategy Analyst

Erika Hobbs
Senior Editor

Amy Hollyfield
Senior Deputy Editor/News
Tampa Bay Times

Crystal Houston
Co-founder & Chief Alchemist

Nina Ignaczak
Publisher, Editor
Planet Detroit

Nora Kelly Lee
Senior Editor
The Atlantic

Gina Lamb
Assistant Editor, Special Sections
The New York Times

Ismat Sarah Mangla
Assistant Director of Content

Olivia Obineme
Product Manager
Chicago Reporter

Jane Onyanga-Omara
Audience Editor

Nicole Ortiz
Senior Editor

Karla Ovalle
Analytics Editor
Philadelphia Inquirer

Mathilde Piard
Senior Project Manager

Amanda Ruggeri
Managing Editor, Features Sites
Editor, BBC Future

Ashley Shaffer
Audience Editor

Taylor Turner
Daily News Producer, Video Journalist
The New York Times

Ani Vrabel
Deputy Copy Desk Editor

Tran Vu
Director of New Voices
AIR (Association of Independents in Radio)

Elizabeth Walters
Executive Editor
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

Rebecca Zamon
Audience Development Manager
HuffPost Canada

Ariel Zirulnick
Fund Director
Membership Puzzle Project

The 2020 Poynter Leadership Academies for Women in Media are made possible in part by support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the Gannett Foundation. The third and final 2020 class will take place online Oct. 4-9; participants are already selected and will be announced closer to those dates.

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 newsrooms, 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 digital information literacy project for young people, first-time voters and senior citizens. The world’s top journalists and media innovators rely on 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.

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

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