Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media: A primer

On Sunday, more than 25 women will come to Poynter for the first ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. Lauren Klinger and I will be covering some of the sessions throughout the week to bring you the tips and lessons from the people here. In the meantime, here are five things you should know about the academy.

1. This is the first time we've tried this.

And 486 women applied. Jane McDonnell, ONA's executive director, wrote about what the selection committee was looking for in a post for ONA last month.

Immediately apparent was the fact that candidates organically fell into two categories, experienced managers or emerging leaders. In order to accommodate both types of leaders, we agreed to move forward in holding a future leadership academy — more on this to come.

For the April 2015 class, we focused on experience, selecting for:

Management experience, i.e. direct supervision
Immersion in digital media
Practitioners only
Diversity, including ethnicity, age, geography and platform
Innovative thinking
Leadership potential

Implied in the selection was an ability to bring new ideas and unique solutions to the mix to ensure a group that would candidly, sometimes fearlessly, tackle both strategic and operational issues. We’ll be sharing more details on instructors, our talented first class and the program in the lead-up to the seminar.

2. 25 women were chosen.

Women from The Washington Post, NPR, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Vox Media, Fusion and the Texas Tribune are among the 25 women who were chosen. I've created a Twitter list via Poynter's Twitter account here, where you can follow the participants. The hashtag for the week is #digitalwomenleaders.

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3. There's more.

Women from CNN, BuzzFeed News, the L.A. Times and Facebook are on the list of presenters. That list includes:

S. Mitra Kalita, Los Angeles Times
Liz Heron, Facebook
Meredith Artley, CNN
Sara Catania, NBC4
Latoya Peterson, Fusion
Laura Amico, Boston Globe
Stacy-Marie Ishmael, BuzzFeed News
Cory Haik, The Washington Post

"This is such a rock-star group of women," said Katie Hawkins-Gaar, Poynter's digital innovation faculty member. "I have a feeling the speakers are going to learn just as much from the participants. It will be an opportunity to have some smart, tough and candid conversations, and I think a lot of good is going to come from that."

4. We've already started telling the stories of women (and one man) in leadership in journalism.

Last year, we ran an essay series called "Push for Parity," with the stories of women (and that one man) and their experiences as leaders in journalism. You can find all the stories collected here. We also chose four essays to run this year from women on their experiences. Those women include WRAL's Kelly Hinchcliffe on learning to ask for raises and promotions; The Guardian's Nabeelah Shabbir on what's working for women in Europe; UNT's Dorothy Bland on the things she didn't let hold her back; and The Riveter's Kaylen Ralph on journalism lessons from "The Gilmore Girls."

In September of last year, we also included advice that women in leadership shared at ONA's 2014 conference.

5. We'll do this again.

The McClatchy Foundation will host up to three more academies, Ben Mullin reported in March. The next is scheduled for the spring of 2016.


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