Summit for Reporting and Editing 2019 Updated

Summit for Reporters and Editors in Multi-Platform Newsrooms

DEADLINE: Sept. 18, 2020
TEACHING DATES: Oct. 25-30, 2020
LOCATION: The Poynter Institute
COST: $1,395

In a 24/7 news cycle, how do you build the skills to report, write and edit stories that connect with your audience?

Throughout this intensive week of training and personalized coaching, our lineup of award-winning journalists and expert teachers will show you how digital approaches and narrative writing techniques can transform your work—whether it’s a daily story or a major project. This unique program will boost the skills of reporters and editors who seek greater impact and relevance in digital and multi-platform newsrooms.

Here’s what two participants from 2018 program told us:

“I’ve learned more in this past week than I have in university.” 
— Negar Mojtahedi, News Producer/Online, Radio, TV Reporter, Global BC News


“I walked away with tangible ideas to influence and reshape how we think about storytelling as my newsroom prepares to launch a new digital-first project. And I picked up a number of great ideas and tips that I believe will make me a better editor and coach.” 
— Desiree Hicks, Supervising Senior Editor, NPR


Tom Huang
Assistant Managing Editor for Features and Community Engagement, Dallas Morning News
Poynter Editing Fellow

Jacqui Banaszynski
Knight Chair in Editing, Missouri School of Journalism
Poynter Editing Fellow

Neil Bedi
Investigative Reporter
Tampa Bay Times

Maria Carrillo
Assistant Managing Editor for Enterprise Organization
Tampa Bay Times

Roy Peter Clark
Senior Scholar, Reporting, Writing & Editing
The Poynter Institute

Justine Griffin
Health and Medicine Reporter
Tampa Bay Times

Joy Mayer

Joy Mayer
Director, Trusting News
Adjunct Faculty, Poynter and the University of Florida

Kathleen McGrory
Deputy Investigations Editor
Tampa Bay Times

Ren LaForme
Digital Tools Reporter,
The Poynter Institute

Al Tompkins, Senior Faculty, Broadcast and Online

Al Tompkins
Senior Faculty, Broadcast and Online
The Poynter Institute

Program details

Two tracks will help you dive more deeply into beat/enterprise reporting and editing. And we’ll come together in large group sessions to explore the common threads that will help you tell more powerful stories, no matter what role you play in your organization. In the process, you’ll explore the tools and techniques that will help you thrive in the digital age.

For more details, read this Q&A with lead faculty Tom Huang and Jacqui Banaszynski.

At the end of this high-impact week, you’ll leave Poynter with a personal action plan to put what you’ve learned into practice. You’ll also feel revitalized and prepared to tackle challenges in the newsroom.

“[Poynter] really is like a spa; it’s a spa for the muscle you usually work out hard every minute of the day.”
— Ben Brasch, Hyperlocal Reporter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As a reporter, you’ll learn to:

  • Turn your watchdog reporting and other investigative projects into compelling “reads” that hold your audience from lead to kicker
  • Improve your interviewing skills to ask better questions — and get the answers you need
  • Infuse your daily deadline reporting with narrative writing, using memorable characters, vivid scenes and focused storylines
  • Develop the heightened senses necessary for gathering the details, nuance and dialogue that distinguish the best narrative reporting and writing
  • Identify fresh, creative stories from civic or institutional beats
  • Map non-traditional beats that reflect how people live today

As an editor, you’ll learn to:

  • Help your team generate fresh and compelling ideas
  • Edit for emphasis and clarity
  • Deliver effective feedback and coaching
  • Explore new ways of telling stories in the digital space
  • Manage big stories and projects

We will also show you:

  • How to tell powerful stories that connect with viewers, particularly on video
  • How to use social media for reporting
  • How to manage a large multiplatform story or project
  • How to make good ethical decisions in the digital age
  • How to use free, easy-to-implement digital tools that you can start applying right away (and how to make them stick in your newsroom)

Who will benefit

Reporters and editors, as well as bloggers, citizen journalists, copywriters, creatives, educators and freelance/independent journalists.

Colleagues will also benefit from attending together. You’ll create a shared understanding of your challenges, brainstorm solutions and improve collaboration. Reporters, bring your editors! Editors, come with your reporters! If you apply with a colleague, you’ll each receive a $100 discount.

“I did not expect that I would walk away with better clarity about how the long list of responsibilities in my current job is impacting my ability to do the type of work that is meaningful for me. I don’t think I could have gotten that clarity any other way. It was a combination of hearing other people talk about their work, the incredible presenters and the time to reflect on the craft of journalism.”
— Sarah Gustavus, Senior Multimedia Producer, New Mexico PBS

Application process

The process to apply is straightforward and simple. No letter of recommendation or reference is required. Please be prepared to answer questions about your professional experience, areas of interests and basic demographic information.


The tuition is $1,395.

Travel and hotel costs are not included. Poynter negotiates deeply discounted hotel rates for training participants within close proximity to the Institute.

Bring a colleague from your organization and you can each save $100 on tuition. Two people can attend this high-impact week of training for $2,590. Email us at to get the promo code.


Sunday, April 28

4:00 p.m. — Introductions, the week’s goals and personal action plans

4:30 p.m. — Large group

  • Finding the humanity inside news stories
  • How to find in-depth story ideas that will lead to something that makes a difference — and that readers cannot resist
  • Case study: Pulse shooting survivor story

7:00 p.m. — Group dinner on your own dime

Monday, April 29

9:00 a.m. — Reminders

  • Reminder about personal action plans (over the week, you will develop 3-5 steps you’ll take to improve your performance when you return to work)
  • Reminder about having a draft of a story or story proposal for Wednesday’s workshop

9:05 a.m. — Large group

  • Introduction to the writing process
  • The idea is the story
    • Blow up events and break down topics to discover those why-didn’t-I-think-of-that story ideas for everything from the daily turn to the big project.

10:35 a.m. — Group photo in the Great Hall

10:45 a.m. — Large group

  • Enterprising stories from institutions and everyday life
    • Strategies for uncovering fresh, creative approaches to civic, complex and commonplace events
    • Using the Story/Reader Wheel and Seven Paths
    • Redefining coverage for the digital age

12:15 p.m. ­— Lunch in the Dining Room

1:15 p.m. — Large group

  • How to make boring stories deeply connect with readers and viewers. Al Tompkins will deconstruct several examples of video storytelling to identify what creates emotional resonance

2:45 p.m. — Break

3:00 p.m. — Breakout sessions

  • Reporting track
    • Beat maps and source rings
      • Simple tools can lead to places and people that expand your thinking, deepen your coverage and develop stories of most value to readers
      • Understanding power dynamics, boundaries and terms for ethical, productive source relationships
  • Editing track
    • Coaching for story
    • The importance of front-end conversations between editor and reporter
    • Good coaching questions
    • At what points does the editor engage during the reporting and writing process
    • What reporters need from their editors

Tuesday, April 30

9 :00 a.m. — Large group

  • Literary forensics: Improving writing from the inside out
  • A simple, foolproof technique to cut clutter, explain jargon, simplify acronyms and titles, and power up your copy. Plus: fact-checking on deadline
  • Note: Ask reporters to bring hard-copy printouts of their original writing; ask editors to bring the writing of reporters they work with frequently

10:30 a.m. — Break

10:45 a.m. — Large group

  • Digital tools to improve your newsroom (for free!)
    • There are hundreds, if not thousands, of digital tools available that can augment journalists’ skills and enable them to tell stories, engage with audiences and communicate with each other in new and more effective ways. In this session, we’ll run through free, easy-to-implement ones that you can start using right away. We’ll also touch on how to make them stick in your newsroom.

12 p.m. — Lunch in the Dining Room

  • 40 Better Hours (Speaker)

1 p.m. — Large group

  • Story blueprints
    • Structural approaches to help organize information and produce clear, complex and creative stories

2:30 p.m.— Break

2:45 p.m. — Large group

  • Questions that work
    • The Sawatsky Method of Simple, Open, Neutral holds officials accountable and gains more authentic information
    • Banaszynski Storyteller Questions yield better quotes, anecdotes, reconstruction and details
    • Approaches to adversarial interviews: How do you script out an interview to back your source into a corner of admission? How do you frame accusatory questions?

Wednesday, May 1

9:00 a.m. — Large group

  • Investigative reporting with data and documents
    • How to wade into the data and emerge with a powerhouse project
    • Heartbroken

10:30 a.m. — Break

10:45 a.m. — Large group

  • Focus: Finding the heart of the story
    • Five questions that will help you discover the theme of your story

12 p.m. — Lunch in the Dining Room

1 p.m. — Large group

  • How to be a social media ninja

2:30 p.m. — Break

2:45 p.m. — Small groups

  • Story workshop
    • Work in small groups on the story draft or story pitch/proposal you brought with you, getting feedback from your fellow participants and your coach.
    • Each small group has 4-5 participants plus one coach.
    • Coaches: Tom, Jacqui, Maria, Ren, Roy

Thursday, May 2

9 a.m. — Large group

  • Writing and editing for emphasis and clarity

10:30 a.m. — Break

10:45 a.m. — Large group

  • Earning trust, one interaction at a time
    • The relationship between journalists and the people they aim to serve is on shaky ground, and it’s up to all of us to bolster it. There are things we can be doing day to day to actively demonstrate credibility and earn trust — in stories, on social media, in person … wherever people interact with us or our content. Let’s get started.

12:15 p.m. — Lunch in the Dining Room

1:15 p.m. — Large group

  • Triage: Editing on deadline

2:45 p.m. — Break

3 p.m. — Large group

  • Free shots on goal: Open Q&A: What have we not covered?

Friday, May 3

9 a.m. — Large group

  • Participants present their personal action plans (3-5 steps they will take to improve their performance when they return to work)

10:30 a.m. — Break

10:45 a.m. — Large group

  • Ethics in the digital age

12 p.m. — Lunch in the Dining Room (Complete your evaluations)

1 p.m. — Large group

  • Instilling a culture of success

2 p.m. — Graduation and farewells


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