December 4, 2022

I am assuming (a dangerous pastime, I know) that some of you also had recent uncomfortable Thanksgiving conversations about journalism, journalists and “The Media.”

Let us all join together in one collective sigh.

I’ll skip the defensiveness and self-aggrandizing we journalists tend to engage in when confronted with the weight of the entire world’s judgment about what we do.

Instead, I’m going to share a story with you, and something for you to keep in your back pocket the next time someone gritches about The Media.

Previously in this space I’ve mentioned my colleague Al Tompkins, senior faculty here at Poynter, who (as far as I can tell) knows just about every journalist in America and half of the rest of the world.

He recently sent this email to colleagues at Poynter:

Very shortly after Hurricane Ian, my wife and I did some trauma management work with local TV stations in Ft. Myers. My wife, who is a licensed therapist, always tells journalists who witness trauma that one way to process what they saw is to find small ways to express gratitude. It is a great healer.

So I started noodling with the TV station how it could do just that — provide hope and healing for employees while also helping the community to heal.

This little tv station took our “you know what would be cool and therapeutic” wild notion and turned it into something remarkable that will lift your spirits.

This is what they produced.

I just loved it, and I thought you and your students would appreciate seeing it, too. It’s a great example of the positives that journalism can bring to people’s lives.

The end of the semester is upon us! Hoist the sail, batten the hatches, and do other maritime things in preparation! Or just keep that coffee coming until finals are graded and submitted. Your break is almost here.

P.S. This is the second-to-last installment of Alma Matters this year. I’ll have a year-end wrap up for you next week with some hopefully helpful links as you continue to plan your 2023 spring semester, so keep an eye out for that one.

Classroom resources

I wonder how you might be preparing your students now for remote work in the future. “Changing Newsrooms 2022: media leaders embrace hybrid work despite challenges” (Reuters Institute)

Here’s a roundup of style guides — beyond AP’s — from my colleague Kristen Hare.

Mark Simon, a former sports media professional, and originator of The Journalism Salute podcast, just recorded his 100th episode. He writes, “I interviewed Scott MacFarlane, who covers Congress and the Jan. 6 aftermath for CBS News. … He explained the challenge of keeping his reactions to what he’s seen and heard in check, how he makes his social media coverage differentiating, and why the most important lesson he’s learned in his career is one about fairness. A good episode for students to learn from, with MacFarlane explaining how he does his job.”

We did this with Campus Correspondents, and it was a good use of resources. “Today’s trust tip: Use Instagram to introduce your staff” (Trusting News)

Erin Gretzinger, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reached out to me to serve as a source for this very interesting article she wrote, “Lack of Industry Guidance on ‘Unpublishing’ Practices Leaves Student Journalists in the Dark.” I completely failed her and missed our appointment but what she produced is worth highlighting. (I apologize again, Erin! You did great without me!)

From our friends at IRE: “Calling all educators of color: IRE offers two Data Bootcamps for Educators coming up in July of 2023, and you could attend free. Educator of Color Fellowships provide free bootcamp registration, one year of IRE membership and a travel stipend if you’re attending the in-person bootcamp. These four-day bootcamps provide hands-on instruction on data reporting tools with a focus on how to teach these skills in a college setting. No data journalism experience or data teaching experience necessary.”

Get the details and apply.


Journalism educators have a moral obligation to their students (Poynter)

Fake Reporter Covering Idaho Student Murders Raises Questions (Newsweek)

Yale accused of discriminating against students with mental illness (Washington Post)

An Open Letter from Editors and Publishers: Publishing is Not a Crime (The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El País) and Senior media figures call for law to stop oligarchs silencing UK journalists (The Guardian, the Daily Mail and The Times)

Inside the Far-Right’s Fight for College Campuses (Rolling Stone)

Slaughtergate! My Fowl-Play Investigation of a White House Turkey (Global Investigative Journalism Network)

Great journalism to share with your students

One last thing

Here’s a possibly delicious but definitely impressive Instagram for you to follow.

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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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