Seminar Application Guidelines

At Poynter, we keep our classes small (most consist of 16 to 18 participants) to encourage lively discussions and to allow faculty members to give focused attention to individual participants. To apply for a Poynter seminar, go to the Web address shown with the listing. Click on "apply for this seminar online."

Please note the application deadline shown for the seminar. Check the seminar description online for more information and to see if you need to supply additional application materials. We consider an application complete when we have received all application materials by the deadline.

When applying online (our preferred method), please print your completed form before clicking "Submit."

If you're unable to apply online, you may also download a PDF of the application form at

You can mail or fax this to:

Seminar Admissions
The Poynter Institute
801 Third St. S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Fax: (727) 821-0583

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know if I'm eligible to apply?

A: Generally, our participants are full-time employees of a news organization or journalism educators. Free-lancers, however, are welcome to apply. Check the "Who should attend?" section in each listing for additional information. If you're still not sure, call or e-mail the contact person shown with the seminar on Poynter Online.

We encourage the applications of women, racial and ethnic minorities, first-time applicants, organizations nominating a staff member for the first time and individuals who have applied previously for a seminar but were not accepted. Generally, most seminars do not include more than one participant from any particular newsroom (except for seminars or conferences for teams); however, more than one candidate may apply. We're sensitive to how many participants we accept from a single ownership group. We try to create a seminar group that reflects a rich mix of people and consider the factors of experience, race, gender, ethnicity, circulation/market size and geography.

Q: What kind of schedule should I expect?

A: Most seminars begin on
Sunday evening and end the following Friday afternoon. Daily sessions
begin promptly at 9 a.m. and last until at least 5 p.m., with some
evening meetings. Dress throughout the week is casual.

Q: Do you give academic credit?

A: The Poynter Institute is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Council on Occupational Education, but we are not a degree-granting institution. Universities have granted undergraduate or  
graduate credit for our programs. The Poynter staff can provide specific information and assistance, but in most cases, participants must make prior arrangements to receive credit from their college or  university.

Q: What is the average cost of tuition and fees?

A: Tuition for most professional seminars in 2007 is $995. This covers all materials, instruction and hotel for a predetermined number of nights, depending on the length of the program.

*NOTE: Please do not send a check for tuition until you are notified of acceptance into the seminar.

Q: What about accommodations?

For most programs, participants and visiting faculty stay in the same
hotel, and lodging for a predetermined number of nights is included in
the tuition fee. Participants may walk or take a hotel van to and from
Poynter. Participants are encouraged to attend seminars without family
members or other company, prepared to devote full attention to the

Q: What should I expect with travel and transportation expenses?

A: St. Petersburg is served by Tampa International Airport, located 25 miles from Poynter. Transportation from the airport to the hotel is available by taxi (approximately $45) and airport shuttle ($25). Hotels are within walking distance of restaurants, and they can provide a shuttle to Poynter when needed, so it isn't necessary to rent a car.

Q: Is financial assistance available?

A: Poynter has a limited number of fellowships for those in need of assistance. There are also a limited number of fellowships available for specific programs that are donated to the Institute by  
individuals and organizations. Applicants seeking financial assistance should attach a letter to their application form stating the particular aid they are seeking (tuition and housing waiver and/
or help with travel costs) and why their organization is unable to pay should they be selected for a seminar.

Q: What is the charge for cancellations?

A: A $100 cancellation fee is retained for cancellations within three weeks of the beginning of a seminar, unless a substitute attends. Refunds will be made within 30 days.

Q: What about applicants from outside the United States?

A: Poynter welcomes journalists from around the world. Due to current restrictions on student visas, we can be of very limited assistance in helping you obtain travel documents. When applying for a seminar at Poynter, please remember that:

  • Early notification is not possible because faculty members choose participants from a full pool of applicants, and the selection is not made until 45 to 60 days before the start of the seminar.
  • Participants are responsible for obtaining their own travel documents and visas and for making and financing their own travel arrangements.
  • Normally, we do not provide fellowships for International travel.For help with travel arrangements, check the Web site for the U.S.Embassy in your country at

Additional tips for applicants:

  • Polish up your resume. Be sure it is up-to-date and presents your experience and accomplishments in their best light.
  • Introduce yourself. Write a brief professional biography (about 100 words) for us to include in the seminar syllabus. This is not the same as (or in place of) your resume.
  • The boss's letter counts. Your boss's recommendation letter is every bit as important as the other pieces of your application package. The letter should provide details about your strengths, your value to your newsroom and your commitment to journalism.
  • The importance of the essay. Develop a terrific 250- to 500- word essay describing your passion and dedication to the craft. We also want to know about your daily duties, how this seminar is relevant to your job, your seminar goals and how you will apply your training when you get back to your newsroom.
  • Don't procrastinate. Allow yourself sufficient time to develop a
    package of informative application materials, and be sure to complete
    ALL questions on the application form. Send the entire package all at
    once, and be sure you get it to Poynter by the deadline date.
  • And don't forget: Some seminars require you to include samples of your work. If so, take the time to put together examples of your best work that meet the requirements.


Related News

Email IconGroup 3Facebook IconLinkedIn IconsearchGroupTwitter IconGroup 2YouTube Icon