December 19, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Poynter Institute has announced a partnership designed to provide professional development to journalists and media leaders from underrepresented demographic groups in an effort to increase their effectiveness and presence in newsrooms. The partnership calls for Knight to provide a grant of $50,000 to Poynter and individual grants of $20,000 to each of six journalism organizations to help fund scholarships to Poynter programs for more than 100 journalists.

“I see this grant as a stimulus to keep good journalists in the news business,” said Karen Dunlap, president of The Poynter Insitute. “To survive and thrive, these journalists and media leaders need continued grounding in journalistic craft and values and new multimedia and entrepreneurial skills. This funding compliments Poynter’s ongoing scholarship campaign and its intent to provide access to training for as wide a range of journalists and media leaders as possible.”

Dunlap noted that the current downsizing of America’s newsrooms has been particularly hard on journalists from underrepresented demographic groups — the same people that news organizations had been slow to hire and promote when economic times were much better.

“The perspectives of these journalists,” Dunlap said, “are essential to an industry seeking creative approaches to engaging communities. Their voices are critical in a society challenged by new realities of globalization and cultural change and old issues of race.”

The grants are intended to provide the journalists who are selected for the program — they will be known as Knight-Poynter Fellows — with training in one of Poynter’s broad range of training venues, including News University; Poynter Online; Webinars; online chats; on-site seminars and regional workshops.

The six journalism organizations scheduled to receive $20,000 grants as part of the program are: National Association of Black Journalists; National Association of Hispanic Journalists; Native American Journalists Association; Asian American Journalists Association; Journalism and Women Symposium; and National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has granted more than $400 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote community engagement and lead to transformational change. For more, visit

About Poynter
Serving journalism and citizens in the interest of democracy, Poynter was founded in 1975 in St. Petersburg, Fla. It is one of the nation’s top schools for professional journalists, future journalists, journalism educators and students. Poynter offers training throughout the year in the areas of online and multimedia, leadership and management, reporting, writing and editing, TV and radio, ethics and diversity, journalism education and visual journalism. Poynter’s News University ( offers newsroom training to journalists and journalism students through interactive e-learning modules and links to other journalism education and training opportunities., the Institute’s Web site, is the industry’s authoritative provider of media news, business analysis and practical information about how to advance journalism.

Jessica Blais Sandler,
Phone: 727-821-9494

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Jessica brings to the Institute more than 20 years of experience in journalism and public relations. She began her career in broadcasting, working on-air in…
Jessica Blais

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