March 16, 2023

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 16, 2023) — The Poynter Institute, renowned for training newsroom leaders and fostering diversity in journalism, is delighted to announce the first of three classes selected for its ninth annual Leadership Academy for Women in Media.

This newest cohort of 31 leaders will come to Poynter March 26-31 from Canada, South Africa, the U.K., and 14 states in the U.S. They bring with them editing expertise in politics, criminal justice, health, sports, arts, entertainment, food and the environment, as well as leadership experience in visual projects, strategy and audience engagement.

“I’m thrilled to welcome these impressive leaders to Poynter’s Leadership Academy,” said Sitara Nieves, Poynter Vice President of Teaching and Organizational Strategy. “This week will harness each person’s leadership potential, so each can return to their newsrooms to lead with an even stronger framework of ethics, authenticity and fairness. And each participant leaves this powerful week with an expanded network of professional advisors dedicated to helping them thrive and succeed.”

Poynter designed the Leadership Academy for Women in Media for women and nonbinary journalists who directly manage people. Each cohort grows the alumni group of more than 550 women and nonbinary journalists who have changed the face of leadership in news media and tech.

Kate Cox, digital media strategist and a graduate of the Leadership Academy for Women in Media, will direct the 2023 program. As the former editor-in-chief of The Counter, a nonprofit newsroom covering the money, power and politics of food, Cox oversaw special projects and edited numerous award-winning investigations.

“I arrived at the academy feeling groundless, in the midst of a major professional transition,” said Cox. “I graduated a week later with wise and wonderful new friends and a strong desire to help other leaders build resilience in their own newsrooms and professional lives.”

As program director, Cox will steward participant experience, community and growth. She has worked in every medium, from radio to TV and print to digital, and all sides of the newsroom, including editorial, development and revenue strategy.

“The people who experience this program go on to lead the initiatives that will ensure a sustainable future for journalism,” Cox said. “That is, hiring to prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging; navigating increasingly complex ethical issues with empathy and nuance; and managing the five-generation workforce through change.”

Welcome to the newest Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Media cohort:

  • Naoko Asano, Deputy Managing Editor, The Athletic
  • Dianna Bell, Acting Assistant Managing Editor, Arts & Culture, 90.9 WBUR
  • Morgan Bolling, Executive Editor, Creative Content, Cook’s Country (America’s Test Kitchen)
  • Teresa Chin, Deputy Editor, Grist
  • Allya Davidson, Executive Producer, CBC News, The Fifth Estate
  • Gabrielle Ewing, Director of Programming, PBS Digital Studios, PBS
  • Missy Frederick, Cities Director, Eater
  • Hannah Fresques, Deputy Data Editor, ProPublica
  • Sadie Gennis, Managing Editor, Audience Insights, Polygon
  • Lauren Gorla, Managing Editor, Lexington Herald-Leader (McClatchy)
  • Auditi Guha, Chittenden County Editor, VTDigger
  • Stephanie Hallett, Deputy Editor of Special Projects, Insider
  • Alec Hamilton, Senior Producer, WNYC News, New York Public Radio
  • Liza Hearon, Assignment Editor, HuffPost
  • Nicole Hernandez, Supervising Editor, News Hub Evening Lead, NPR
  • Whitney Holmes, Web Copy Chief, The New Yorker
  • Pu Ying Huang, Photo Editor, Texas Tribune
  • Emily Jan, Deputy Director of Visuals, San Francisco Chronicle
  • Abby Johnston, Editorial Director, The 19th
  • Lauren Kaljur, Audience Engagement Editor, Discourse Community Publishing
  • Matshidiso Madia, Head of Politics, Eyewitness News
  • Casey McDermott, Senior News Editor, NHPR
  • Tram Anh Nguyen, Morning Content Manager, KSDK TV / Tegna
  • Claire Racine, Managing Editor, Greenwich Time and The Stamford Advocate, Hearst Connecticut Media
  • Sabriya Rice, Southern Bureau Chief, Kaiser Health News
  • Julia Ritchey, News Editor, WPLN
  • Zainab Shah, Director of Engagement and Audience, The City
  • Nikita Stewart, Real Estate Editor, The New York Times
  • Gabriella Vukelic, Social Media Editor, Newsday
  • Lucy Warwick-Ching, Community Editor, Financial Times
  • Jessica Wehrman, Health Editor, Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call


The March academy will kick off with a keynote address from Mónica Guzmán, digital media pioneer and author of “I Never Thought of It That Way: How To Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times.” She will help participants understand tools they can use to be more effective leaders during this era of intense polarization.

Other lessons during the week include:

  • The ever-popular work-life chemistry talk, plus how to market yourself, with Poynter faculty Kristen Hare
  • Hiring and retaining diverse talent, quieting the inner critic, and getting smarter about conflict with Poynter director of teaching and diversity strategies Doris Truong
  • Intentional delegation, negotiation tactics, and ethical leadership with Cox
  • Managing through authenticity with consultant Maria Carrillo

Program alumni regularly return to the academy to deepen connections in the alumni network and share lessons learned. Sushil Cheema, executive coach and graduate of the 2019 academy, will host a new session on recognizing, addressing and avoiding burnout. Coaches include 2019 alum Stephanie Hayes, 2021 alum Rebecca Catalanello, and 2022 alum Allison Ross. Tampa Bay Times communications director Sherri Day will also provide coaching.

Selection process

Those chosen for Poynter’s 2023 Leadership Academy for Women in Media passed through multiple rounds of review with an emphasis to ensure diversity across race, ethnicity, geography, age, platform/medium, organization size and expertise to further enrich the participant experience. The academy takes place three times each year, and participants for all three academies are selected at the same time.

Poynter thanks the following alumni for reviewing applications for this year’s program: Hana Alberts, Onyinyechi “Nini” Eze, Candice Fortman, Megan Griffith-Greene, Jennifer Hefty, Erika Hobbs, Amy Hollyfield, Ashley Kang, Gina Lamb, Paige Lavender, Katherine McMahan, Alex Newman, Priyanka Pant, Lauren Savoie, Kayleigh Skinner, Kate Travis, Silvia Vinas and Aubree Eliza Weaver.

Applications open in August for the 2024 program. Learn more at

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Mel Grau is the director of program management at The Poynter Institute. Mel was formerly the senior product specialist, focusing on Poynter's training experiences and…
Mel Grau

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