Reporting Workshop for Rising Stars

This program was canceled in 2020. Stay tuned for updates regarding this training in 2021. 

DEADLINE: Aug. 16, 2019
TEACHING DATE: Oct. 13-16, 2019
LOCATION: The Poynter Institute
COST: $1,150

The secret to success isn’t getting to the biggest newsroom; it’s creating the career you want where you are.

The best reporters have a distinct style that not only earns praise, but moves the audience to engage and creates change. In a 24/7 news cycle, standing out is a particularly incredible feat.

Poynter’s new workshop is designed to mentor early-career journalists in a small-group setting to unlock their superstar potential. Participants will grow as investigators and storytellers, and learn how to better manage their personal brand and navigate their career.

Like all Poynter training, this workshop will be off-the-record to encourage honest, candid conversation and meaningful connections. Participants will leave with a new cohort to help them achieve success beyond the four-day training.


Erin Ailworth Reporting Stars

Erin Ailworth
Reporter, The Wall Street Journal
Lifetime Member, NAHJ

John D. Sutter
CNN, National Geographic Explorer

Cheryl Carpenter
Leadership Faculty
The Poynter Institute

Maria Carrillo
Deputy Editor/Enterprise
Tampa Bay Times

Kristen Hare
Local News Reporter
The Poynter Institute

Corey Johnson
Investigative Reporter
Tampa Bay Times

Katie Sanders

Katie Sanders
Managing Editor

Aaron Sharockman
Executive Director

Jan Winburn
Writing Coach

Program details

This intensive four-day workshop is an investment in journalists with great potential during a time when local newsrooms have fewer resources than ever before. Sessions will be devoted to the development of both career and craft.

Participants will learn how to thrive in their newsroom by focusing on relationships, culture and communication. They’ll reflect on their own learning and working styles and will be coached on how to build allies and seek opportunities to propel their growth where they currently work. Through expert one-on-one coaching, they will also gain skills to excel as reporters, writers and original thinkers.

Read a Q&A with lead instructors, Erin Ailworth and John Sutter, about this new workshop.

What you will learn


  • Insights into your personality type and communication preferences
  • A framework for defining — and refining — your career objectives
  • Where to find funding for big projects and manage budgets
  • What makes a good mentee and how to mentor your peers
  • Strategies to improve your relationship with your editor
  • How to navigate newsroom culture
  • Advice from fellow journalists on managing life outside of work


  • How to infuse your stories with originality and polish your prose
  • How to balance personality and objectivity in your writing
  • Investigative reporting basics
  • Envision great reporting, both large projects and daily stories
  • Develop sources and manage your material
  • Understand story structures
  • Get the most traction with your successful reporting projects


Schedule is subject to change.

OCT. 13

Let’s set the course for our time together.

3:00 p.m. Arrivals and welcome
3:30 p.m. “The Real Me”
4:00 p.m. What do we mean by “rising star”?
5:15 p.m. Drinks/snacks at a nearby restaurant

OCT. 14

A rising-star career is built on your mastery of craft.

9 a.m. Finding stories ideas (with the help of your dog)
10 a.m. Break
10:15 Multimedia storyboarding
11:45 a.m. Lunch
1 p.m. Ethics and empathy in interviewing
2:45 p.m. Break
3 p.m. Thinking like an investigative reporter
4:15 p.m. Bulletproofing your story

OCT. 15

Turn your storytelling skills into a rising-star career.

9 a.m. Knowing your communication style
10:30 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. The reporter-editor relationship
11:45 a.m. Lunch
1 p.m. Group photo
1:15 p.m. Pitching the BIG story
2:15 p.m. Negotiation basics
2:45 p.m. Time for writing/project planning
4 p.m. Small-group critiques with coaches

OCT. 16

What’s next?

9 a.m. What does it take to level-up in your newsroom?
10 a.m. Break
10:15 a.m. Group shares, next steps


The tuition is $1,150.

Travel to and from St. Petersburg and your hotel is on your own. Scholarships may be available.

Who should apply

Rising star reporters who want to fast-track their career development by growing in their current newsroom should apply. Editors who want to retain their top talent and local newsrooms that need to capitalize on the resources they have should refer their staff.

Application process

The process to apply is straightforward and simple. Please be prepared to answer questions about your professional experience, areas of interests and basic demographic information. We also require a letter of recommendation from your direct supervisor.


We’d love to hear from you. Email us at