poynter producers project

Poynter Producer Project

August 15, 2018
Teaching Date
Aug. 17-Sept. 28; In-Person Dates: Sept. 7, 8, 9
Hybrid Teaching: Online and In-Person


Nearly every broadcast company has a need to hire newscast producers. It may be the single most difficult position to fill because we demand so much of producers. The Poynter Producer Project helps newsrooms grow their own producers. We have decades of success stories — many of our graduates are now news directors, executive producers and network executives.


"The Poynter Producer Project reignited the passion for what I do and made me a better producer in every way. I learned to be a better newsroom leader, which led to a promotion to Executive Producer."

"The Producer Project gave me perspective on managing workflow and egos — both of which are vital with political coverage."

"The Poynter Producer Project helped me level up in my career, expand my skill set, and shape me as a leader in the newsroom. The course was a meaningful experience and excellent networking opportunity."

This seminar is practical, affordable and we offer parts of it in live online sessions to make it fit the demanding newsroom schedules.


What Will I Learn:

  • How to find stories that others miss
  • How to find a focus for your story
  • A framework for making ethical decisions on deadline
  • How to write clear, clean copy
  • Techniques for managing peers, managers and subordinates


Who Should Take This Course:

Producers at any stage in their career, including associate and newscast producers as well as executive producers.


Program Partners:

This program is supported by the Scripps Howard Foundation.

Program Details:

We will help you learn to write stories and teases that connect with viewers, learn the skills of ethical decision-making and critical thinking, we will teach you how to coach others and manage breaking news. The Producer Project also teaches participants how social media and online delivery is evolving for local newsrooms and we will teach you the business of local TV to help you understand what is on your boss’ plate. You will get 360 feedback from your newsroom to understand what you are doing well and where you could get stronger. It is the kind of feedback producers tell us they want most.

We’re combining the best of online learning with in-person coaching and mentoring to help you tell stronger stories and make those tough calls on deadline.

In the online portion of this seminar, Poynter’s Al Tompkins will guide you through weekly readings, activities and live group discussions. You’ll also come to Poynter on September 7-8-9 for a weekend of in-person coaching and feedback.

Throughout this course, you’ll gain practical and creative ideas to share with your colleagues and a new energy to bring to your work.

We have broken the course into five parts. Here’s what we will cover:

Part 1 (Online, Aug. 21, 1:30 p.m.): Finding focus, story shapes and optimizing your storytelling. This is vital to producers who also have to write leads and teases.

Part 2 (Online, Aug. 28, 1:30 p.m.): Story motivators and visual storytelling: Producers must understand how to powerfully leverage the sometimes limited visuals they have available. They also shape the storytelling by coaching the reporters/MMJs/photojournalists to attach the stories to one of eight key motivators that will make the story more interesting to a wider audience. You will learn these motivators and how to use them to shape not just the stories but also teases and promotions.

Part 3 (At Poynter, Sept. 7, 8, 9): When the producers come to Poynter for three days, they are in for an action-packed learning experience. In our three days we will focus on:

  • What every producer needs to know about tease writing
  • The power of active writing
  • Making ethical decisions on deadline
  • 360-degree feedback from their newsroom colleagues and bosses
  • What great producers do to stand out from the pack
  • The skills of online and social media writing

Part 4 (Online, Sept. 18, 1:30 p.m.): Feedback on your teases. This is a two-hour session online where every producer will submit samples of their work and the group will give live feedback.

Part 5 (Online, Sept. 25, 1:30 p.m.): Developing a career path, exploring ratings and uncovering new income opportunities. For many producers it is the first real look inside the business of their business.


Scripps Howard Foundation

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