October 6, 2010

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The McCormick Foundation has selected Poynter to administer its 2011 Specialized Reporting Institutes (SRI) program, the popular series of intensive journalism workshops designed to provide subject-specific expertise and practical skills to working journalists. 

McCormick looks to Poynter to share its 35 years of training experience to increase the impact, effectiveness and visibility of the events. The $340,000 grant will cover Poynter’s costs and fund six to eight SRIs next year, one of which will be hosted by Poynter.

“The Institute’s experience, reach and resources, including our e-learning site, News University, enable us to enrich these important on-the-ground events,” said Poynter President Karen B. Dunlap. “We look forward to working with McCormick and next year’s SRI program hosts to help journalists cover stories that serve democracy.”

Clark Bell, the foundation’s journalism program director, said Poynter is the perfect choice to manage the SRI series.

“Poynter has conducted a number of our journalism trainings in the past, and we’ve always been highly satisfied with the results,” Bell said. “The organization’s knowledge, customer service and digital capabilities will only enhance the impact of the SRI program.”

Under the new partnership, Poynter will work with McCormick to create an online application process for organizations applying to host SRIs. Poynter will work with selected SRI hosts to create a custom training resource page on the News University website and to help measure outcomes of the events.
Typically, SRI hosts receive grants of $35,000-$50,000. An SRI is organized and administered by a non-profit host, which convenes a diverse group of 15-20 journalists, often from small to mid-sized news organizations, for a program lasting two to three days. Participants represent all media platforms, and grant funds cover all or most of participants’ travel, lodging and tuition.

The goals of a Specialized Reporting Institute are to:

  • Identify key sources and resources on the topic.
  • Develop story ideas for today, tomorrow and six months from now.
  • Enable reporters to meet like-minded colleagues for tips and support, during the training and beyond.
  • Build confidence for those new to the topic and help those more familiar to see new possibilities
  • Provide training and professional development to reporters working for smaller organizations, including community and ethnic media.
  • Share the learning with new tools and technology and by urging newsroom participants to host training for colleagues when they return home.

“I commend McCormick for the SRIs. They have long brought valuable information, insights, context and contacts to journalists,” Dunlap said. “In this digital era, when quality content must find its audience, Poynter is proud to be able to take the lessons of each SRI online, beyond the on-site walls, and reach thousands of journalists, academics, students and other content creators.”

About The Poynter Institute
Poynter trains journalism practitioners, media leaders, educators and other citizens in the areas of multimedia, leadership and management, reporting, writing and editing, ethics and diversity, journalism education and visual journalism. Poynter’s News University (www.newsu.org) offers interactive e-learning modules and links to other journalism education and training opportunities. Poynter’s website, (www.poynter.org) is the dominant provider of journalism news, with a focus on business analysis and the opportunities and implications of technology.

About the McCormick Foundation
The McCormick Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening our free, democratic society by investing in children, communities and country. Through its grantmaking programs, Cantigny Park and Golf, museums, and civic outreach program the Foundation helps build a more active and engaged citizenry. It was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The McCormick Foundation is one of the nation’s largest charities, with more than $1 billion in assets. For more information, please visit www.McCormickFoundation.org.


Wendy Wallace, faculty, wwallace@poynter.org
; Jessica Sandler, marketing director, jsandler@poynter.org 
Phone: 1-888-POYNTER (1-888-769-6837)

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.
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

More News

Back to News