February 28, 2021

Let me get right to it: I’m proud and excited to announce that Poynter is now accepting applications for our new online group seminar, Diversity Across the Curriculum, which kicks off in April.

From our information page: “This course will give journalism educators an opportunity to make a real impact on the future diversity, inclusion and equity efforts of American newsrooms when they model those values in the classroom. This online group seminar will empower you to examine your current teaching materials and curriculum with an eye toward inclusion and representation, and give you the tools and skills to diversify your lessons, examples, speakers and more.”

The course will be led by Dr. Earnest Perry of the University of Missouri, with assistance from yours truly.

Enrollment is limited and applications for the program are due March 19. You can read more about the requirements, costs and recommendations here. We want to especially encourage multiple people from the same journalism/communications departments to attend.

Those of you who’ve been around for a while may recall that this was an in-person Poynter program a couple of decades ago. It was popular and formative, which is why we’re excited to bring it back for you.

Useful data alert

The New York Times is out this week with a new tool that you and your students should get a lot of use out of. The findings of Tracking Coronavirus Cases at U.S. Colleges and Universities sizzle: “More than 120,000 cases have been linked to American colleges and universities since Jan. 1, and more than 530,000 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic. The Times has also identified more than 100 deaths involving college students and employees. The vast majority occurred in 2020 and involved employees.”

Step one, make sure you’ve covered any student or staff death. Step two, play around inside this tool for a while and see what kinds of story ideas and assignments you can come up with. For example, how does your university rank against other schools in the state? (A quick look at Oklahoma’s two big state schools showed that one school reported more than twice as many cases as the other.)

Documenting documentaries

This is an intriguing list, and maybe there’s something in here that might be good for your classroom? The Global Investigative Journalism Network has “What to Watch: Shortlisted Oscar-Nominated Documentaries in 2021.” The trailer for “Collective” makes me want to drop everything and watch.

Dragging it out

Categorize this as Headline I’m Bound to Click On: “On Student Press Freedom Day: Stop suing the Herald.” I’ll just say this: This suit has dragged on so long that none of the original students involved are still students, but the paper still hasn’t given up. From the piece: “Student press freedom isn’t only about protecting media organizations and journalists. It’s about protecting an institution’s students. Student journalism holds officials accountable and gives the student body voice. It informs, and it educates — what higher education is all about.”

FOIA your president, get fired?

Last week I highlighted a column in the Chronicles for Higher Education written by a community college professor titled “What a Public-Information Act Request Revealed About My College President.” The writer, L.D. Burnett, found out this week that her contract hasn’t been renewed, which means she’s effectively fired after this semester. Get out your popcorn GIFs because Burnett doesn’t strike me as the kind of person to slink away quietly. I started to reach out to her but this tweet told me what I need to know.


This feels bleak. A researcher at Boston University found that “Depression, Anxiety, Loneliness Are Peaking in College Students.” The survey of 33,000 undergrads indicates that half of them screened for anxiety or depression in the fall 2020 semester. What I like about this reporting, however, is that it provides practical tips for professors to face this mental health crisis and provides real tactics for addressing it and playing a role in helping students.

College headlines

Great journalism to share with your students

This week’s Professor’s Press Pass

Tiger Woods was hospitalized following a serious single-car rollover accident in Los Angeles, California. (Photo credits left to right: zz/KGC-243/STAR MAX/IPx and AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

In this week’s Professor’s Press Pass, we discuss Tiger Woods’ recent accident and the implications of that breaking news. Our lesson has your students consider what they might have done when reporting about his past wrecks and arrest, and speculating about his future golfing prospects.

Resources for Journalists

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Barbara Allen is the director of college programming for Poynter. Prior to that, she served as managing editor of Poynter.org. She spent two decades in…
Barbara Allen

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