August 22, 2021

A little note from me: For the next several weeks, I’ll be engaged in training students at campuses all over the country as part of the Poynter College Media Project, so expect shorter updates. I’m excited to network with some of the nation’s top journalism students and look forward to being on campuses — fully vaccinated, masked up and standing six feet away!

Welcome back to another roller coaster semester. I know we’re all feeling varying degrees of uncertainty and suffering from the fatigue that uncertainty has brought. All I can offer is my support and well wishes. Time marches on, fall is upon us and we’ve got some great resources for your upcoming semester. So I’ll get right to it.

Assign Poynter courses using bursar charges

If you’ve ever wanted to assign a Poynter course to your classes, but were concerned about making students pay out of pocket, we’ve got the solution. Schools that have Follett campus bookstores can now assign Poynter materials (just like you would textbooks), and students can use their financial aid to pay for them via a bursar or student charge account. (And I’m working on getting other bookstores lined up!)

Here’s a list of courses that we think are priced right and valuable enough to serve as required “textbooks”:

Language Primer Certificate ($29.95)

Math for Journalists Certificate ($29.95)

Broadcast Writing: Write Like You Talk ($29.95)

Newsroom Readiness Certificate ($29.95)

Hands-on Fact-Checking ($14.95)

Language, Math and News Literacy Certificate ($64.95)

Poynter ACES Certificate in Editing ($150)

If you’re with a Follett bookstore and you’re interested in this option, simply list the ISBN number that’s now on the Poynter course (look on the right of the course page under “Overview”) and the bookstore and Poynter will do the rest.

For those of you who are into details, here’s how it works: You assign Poynter material via your required textbooks list using the ISBN assigned to the course. Your Follett campus bookstore will then provide students who purchase the course with a unique access code that will allow them to take the course on the Poynter website, along with instructions on how to access the materials. It should be an easy lift on your part.

Here’s the fine print: Most of the above courses include a certificate of completion that students can use to show proof of completion and mastery of the product. Most of the courses include take-as-you-go quizzes embedded in the material that prevent those who cannot pass the quizzes from proceeding. We do not provide any support to allow you to “see” your students’ progress — only the certificate at the end, which they can download and submit to you.

WriteLane, right home

I’m super pleased to announce that my friends Lane DeGregory and Maria Carrillo — the dynamic writing and editing duo behind some of the Tampa Bay Times’ most arresting reporting — are bringing their podcast, WriteLane, back to Poynter.

Their engagement behind the mic provides great learning opportunities for students interested in hearing more about our craft. I’m a fan, and I think you and your students will be, too. At just under half an hour per podcast, they’re short and packed with useful thinking.

You can read our announcement, and subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

Free Speech PPPs

I’m also excited to announce that Poynter is partnering with The Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University to bring you 10 free case studies in Professor’s Press Pass that will arm you with First Amendment education tools.

If you’re a Press Pass user, you know that I provide weekly ripped-from-the-headlines classroom discussion activities (all for the low low cost of just $12 a month or $100 a year!). These new case studies, which we’ll roll out over the course of the next school year, will focus on issues specific to the First Amendment, press freedoms, campus news and legal matters.

The Free Speech Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy center dedicated to building understanding of the five freedoms of the First Amendment through education, information and engagement.

I’ll announce it here each time we launch a new free lesson, or you can find them soon at or

Other Poynter stuff

I copied and pasted this from my last newsletter in May, but I wanted to make sure — as you finalize those syllabi — that you’re keeping in mind everything Poynter’s got that might be able to help this fall, including lots of free stuff. Happy Sunday!

Free tools

  • The Lead: Weekly newsletter for journalism students with resources and connections for those in college and high school.
  • Internship Database: The go-to location for students seeking internships. Paid journalism and communications internships only.
  • MediaWise Campus Correspondents: Trained collegiate fact-checkers are ready to visit your classroom virtually (or even in person!) during the 2021/22 academic year. (currently on a wait list)

Free courses

Poynter subscription services

  • Professor’s Press Pass: Weekly case studies taken from that week’s headlines about the ethical and business problems facing journalists. Includes background information and classroom-ready slideshow with robust discussion questions. ($12 a month or $100 a year per professor)

Poynter paid courses  — for educators

  • Diversity Across the Curriculum: Four-hour, online group seminar. Learn how to infuse diversity and inclusion into all aspects of teaching. Applications due Sept. 26. ($499)
  • TV News Toolbox for Teachers: A series of 38 microlearning activities organized into eight lessons. From the course page: “If you teach broadcast journalism, you’re always looking for powerful clips to show your students and spark meaningful conversations about the craft.” ($75)

Please reach out to me at to discuss bulk departmental discounts, or to know more about the courses.

College headlines

Great journalism to share with your students

Diverse headlines

One valuable way that you can reinforce diversity, equity and inclusion in your classroom is by sharing journalism about, by and for diverse communities — not just stories that are predominantly by and about cisgender white people. Consider ways in which you could use these stories in your curriculum. Here are a few examples I saw this week.

This week’s Professor’s Press Pass

We’ve got two new case studies so far this month in Professor’s Press Pass:

If you’re new here, Professor’s Press Pass is a series of case studies taken from recent news and media events, which outlines an issue and asks your students to weigh in with a set of discussion questions. It’s just $100 a year or $12 a month. I’d love for you to check it out and see if it’s something that would supplement your classroom work.

One last thing

If you can’t laugh about it … sing about it.

Resources for Journalists

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

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