Poynter is breaking the glass ceiling in journalism

The application for Poynter’s 2023 Leadership Academies for Women in Media will be open soon. 

Newsrooms often fail to reflect the communities they serve. According to the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) 2018 survey, women account for only 42% of leadership in U.S. newsrooms. 

As a consequence, stories are less fair, representative and dimensional. Women, especially women of color, face entrenched power dynamics, lack of representation, and higher rates of discrimination and harassment.

The Poynter Institute tackles these issues through leadership training and community building for women journalists, including:

“If you’re failing diversity, especially with women, you’re failing journalism,” leadership academy alumna and instructor and deputy editor of Atlantic.com, Swati Sharma, succinctly said. “Poynter’s program is saving journalism.”

Poynter is Dedicated to Gender Parity in Newsroom Leadership

Making Magic: Creating the Cohort

“I didn’t realize magic was happening when I was in the class,” said Dhiya Kuriakose, women’s leadership academy alumna and instructor and senior director of development strategy and syndication at Condé Nast Entertainment. “I realized it two weeks later. And I’m realizing it every day two years later. Those five days are not when your life changes. It’s the experience of those five days that end up changing your life after you’re very far from St. Petersburg.”

Below: Screenshots of the social media posts from women’s leadership academy alumnae 

We build community in all of our leadership programs, but there is something special about the community of #PoynterWomenLeaders. Women’s leadership academy organizer Katie Hawkins-Gaar launched The Cohort newsletter to expand the conversations and connections that started in our women’s leadership academies. More than 9,000 people receive the newsletter twice a month, engaging with stories and tips to thrive in their journalism careers.

Program alumnae also attend meet-ups at ONA’s annual conference, connect constantly through Facebook groups and coach each other through the grassroots effort, digitalwomenleaders.com.

“I’ve done a lot of these leadership-type programs. Poynter’s is by far the one that was most fulfilling,” Swati Sharma said. “‘Fulfilling’ is the right word because I gained a sense of confidence and completeness that had been missing previously in my career. It’s really something to be in the room with people who have the same struggles as you and are solving those problems. That was something new that I hadn’t quite experienced.”

Poynter’s Direct Impact

Our commitment to this work began in 2014 with the launch of our first Leadership Academy for Women in Media. Applications grew exponentially, with the 2018 program attracting more than 600 applicants for 28 seats. Why? The Poynter women’s leadership training alters careers and changes lives. In a 2018 survey of graduates from our first three years of the program, we learned:

  • 81% got promoted or have more job responsibilities
  • 83% make more money, with half making substantially more money
  • 76% have a clearer vision of what’s important in their career. 

How You Can Support Women Journalists

In response to the program’s stellar success and increased demand, Poynter added two more leadership academies and two one-day regional symposiums in 2018. We continued to host three leadership academies in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Meet the 400+ women who have graduated from Poynter’s academy.

Thank you to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, McClatchy Foundation, Participant Media, Gannett Foundation, WordPress and Instagram for supporting our programming.

We want to remove barriers for women to participate by keeping tuition low, taking programs on the road and continuing to bring the world’s top instructors to Poynter. We need your support to continue this work! You can help:

Make an individual contribution.
One person can make a difference. Your generous donation of $300 can support a specific program, operational costs, or help alleviate travel costs for journalists.

Become involved.
Interested in being a partner, instructor or vendor? We’re always looking for the best talent to elevate our leadership training.

Sponsor training.
Become the naming or supporting sponsor for one of our leadership programs. In addition to program branding, you’ll also get to attend our exclusive and transformational teaching.

Endow the program.
Are you dedicated to promoting excellence in journalism through all of our initiatives? Please endow our leadership training.

Subscribe to the Cohort.
Poynter’s email newsletter for women kicking ass in digital media, and the people who support them. Sign up to get The Cohort two times a month.