July 17, 2013

It has been a hallmark of Poynter over its history to call attention to excellent journalism. No action is more consistent with our mission and purpose. No teaching has proved more effective. To take that teaching to a new level of energy and discernment, we create today the Poynter Excellence Project, or PEP for short.

Starting with the lost art of the newspaper profile, we will showcase excellent journalism in all its variety and help readers of Poynter.org come to a better understanding of what makes it excellent. There is so much excellent work across genres and media platforms going on out there, that it’s hard to know what work demands our attention. The PEP project is designed to help.

What makes journalism excellent? The usual standards apply: strong news judgment, excellent use of evidence, good writing and narrative strategies, cogent analysis.As we consider examples submitted by Poynter faculty and friends, we will also ask these three questions: Is it innovative? Is it enterprising? Is it well-intentioned?

About once every two weeks, a PEP project will be highlighted on the Poynter website. In addition to a link to the original work, the feature will help readers figure out what makes the work effective, either by first-person accounts written by the creators, close analysis by Poynter folks, or by interviews or chats.The goal will be to produce about 25 of these features per year, hoping that the examples we find cover a full range of topics, tones, voices, genres, technologies, and platforms.

Our selections may at times be controversial, subject to argument and debate. We can and should disagree on both what is good and what makes it good. Your feedback and participation will enrich the Poynter Excellence Project, especially if you help us model the kind of productive strategic conversation about craft and values that can be carried back to the newsroom and classroom.

If you run into a work of journalism that deserves this kind of close inspection, please email us at ExcellenceProject@poynter.org. If we use your suggestions, we’ll give you discounts on courses and Webinars at Poynter News University.

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.
Roy Peter Clark has taught writing at Poynter to students of all ages since 1979. He has served the Institute as its first full-time faculty…
Roy Peter Clark

More News

Back to News


Comments are closed.