Participants in Leadership Academy share their experiences

Poynter Leadership Academy

September 29, 2017
Teaching Date
Oct. 15-20, 2017
St. Petersburg, Florida

Please note: The application deadline for this event has passed.


Here’s a fact: Each October, managers destined to play major leadership roles in their newsrooms come from all over the world to Poynter. Why?

To become the leaders they aspire to be.

Leadership Academy is Poynter’s premier seminar for high-potential managers. This highly-interactive five-day program offers participants the chance to refine their leadership styles, update their understanding of management and media trends and tools, and receive the personal coaching necessary to accelerate their effectiveness as leaders.


Listen to Shawna VanNess, Deputy Assistant Managing Editor at Newsday:

“I consider my time at Poynter to have been a week-long detox, of sorts, that helped me recognize my best work habits and objectively look at what I want to do better, smarter or simply in a more purposeful way. To have been given the opportunity to DO all this in the company of my peers from all over the world, in sessions taught by a dazzling lineup of faculty mentors, is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had as a journalist.”

This year’s academy in St. Petersburg, Oct. 15-20, will be led by Butch Ward, Poynter’s Senior Faculty for Leadership, Editing and Writing, and will feature members of Poynter’s faculty along with some of the country’s leading news managers and innovators. Longtime digital executive Kinsey Wilson will help kick off the seminar by presenting the 2017 Naughton Lecture, offering a first-hand perspective on how newsroom leaders can encourage a fertile environment for innovation.

Come to Leadership Academy and learn what’s working in digital, broadcast and print newsrooms. You’ll receive personalized 360 feedback from your boss, peers and direct reports. You’ll also receive expert one-on-one coaching — and learn how to do the same for others. Plus you’ll have the chance to improve your writing, your storytelling and your mastery of social media. You will return home with more confidence, better aware of the strengths you can leverage to develop your newsroom staff and build audiences for the coverage you produce. (Want to know more about the week? See below for a proposed schedule.)

You’ll learn how to:

  • Adjust your leadership style to be the leader your staff needs to succeed.
  • Focus your staff’s efforts — no matter how limited your resources — on journalism that answers your community’s needs.
  • Take advantage of the latest digital tools, skills and strategies.
  • Innovate, collaborate and coach people in new skills and ways of approaching their craft.
  • Deliver feedback that helps your staff improve, and successfully master those difficult conversations that most managers avoid.
  • Prioritize your work in order to invest your time more effectively.
  • Be the manager staffers want to work with—and bosses want to promote.

Who Will Benefit:

Talented managers in digital, broadcast or print organizations who want to take their skills and careers to the next level. This program is designed for high-potential people on their way up in organizations.

Here is our proposed schedule:
SUNDAY, October 15 (Amphitheater)
4:00 p.m. ~ Welcome and The Real Me ~ Butch Ward
5:15 p.m. ~ The Naughton Lecture ~ Kinsey Wilson
7:00 p.m. ~ Group dinner

MONDAY, October 16
9:00 a.m. ~ What’s Your Approach to Leadership (And How’s It Working For You?) ~ Butch
10:30 a.m. ~ Break
10:45 a.m. ~ Your ViewPoynt: Feedback: How Others See Your Leadership ~ Faculty
12:30 p.m. ~ Lunch
2:00 p.m. ~ Why Can’t We Do Things My Way? – Myers-Briggs® and Management ~ Butch, Katie Hawkins-Gaar
3:30 p.m. ~ Break
3:45 p.m. ~ Creating an Organization Where Innovation Actually Occurs ~ Katie and Faculty
5:15 p.m. ~ Wrapup
5:30 p.m. ~ Adjourn (Evening free)

TUESDAY, October 17
9:00 a.m. ~ Why You Need to Obsess on Audience, and How to Do It ~ Sona Patel
10:30 a.m. ~ Break
10:45 a.m. ~ Leadership Mall #1 and Faculty Face Time
12:15 p.m. ~ Lunch
2:00 p.m. ~ The Art of Managing Your Boss (For Your Team and Yourself) ~ Marcy McGinnis
3:30 p.m. ~ Break
3:45 p.m. ~ Becoming a Two-Track Leader: It’s All About Relationships ~ Butch
5:00 p.m. ~ Adjourn (Evening free)

WEDNESDAY, October 18
9:00 a.m. ~ Difficult Conversations I: Getting Smarter About Conflict ~ Butch
10:30 a.m. ~ Break
10:45 a.m. ~ Difficult Conversations: II: Time to Practice! ~ Marcy, Faculty
12:15 p.m. ~ Lunch
2:00 p.m. ~ Leadership Mall #2 and Faculty Face Time
3:15 p.m. ~ Break
3:30 p.m. ~ Who’s Missing in Our Coverage—and Why? ~ Butch
5:00 p.m. ~ Adjourn (Evening free)

THURSDAY, October 19
9:00 a.m. ~ New Managers and New Ethics: The Power of the Process
10:45 a.m. ~ Break
11:00 a.m. ~ Leadership Mall #3 and Faculty Face Time
12:30 p.m. ~ Lunch
2:00 p.m. ~ Time’s Up: What Are Your Priorities? ~ Butch
3:45 p.m. ~ One-on-One Faculty Coaching and Writing Great Boss Plans ~ Faculty
7:00 p.m. ~ Group dinner

FRIDAY, October 20
9:00 a.m. ~ It’s Your Turn: Your Great Boss Plans
12:00 p.m. ~ Lunch – Poynter’s treat as you dine and finish your evaluations
1:15 p.m. ~ Taking It Home ~ Butch
1:45 p.m. ~ Graduation and Closing Remarks
2:30 p.m. ~ Adjourn!

One last fact: Poynter’s Leadership Academy has provided a turning point in many a journalism career.

It could mark a turning point in yours.

Questions? Email us at

Special pricing is available for this seminar

  • Some of our members receive discounts on Poynter training. Not a member yet? Learn more about our Poynter Prepared Membership Program and find the plan that’s right for you.


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