TV Power Reporting Academy

TV Power Reporting Academy

August 11, 2018
Teaching Date
Online: Sept. 7—Oct. 19; In-Person: Sept. 28, 29, 30
Hybrid Online and In-Person

Power Reporting is one of Poynter’s signature seminars. For more than 25 years, TV reporters, photojournalists, VJ/MMJ’s have relied on Poynter to build their reporting, writing and ethical decision-making skills. You will get individual feedback on your work. We will hone your critical-thinking skills to help you find the stories that others miss.


  • Profile picture for user atompkins

    Al Tompkins

    Senior Faculty, Broadcast and Online

    The Poynter Institute

“I think that my attending this workshop will help my newsroom as a whole. For one thing, it gives me a bit more gravitas. Everyone was eager to hear what I’d learned, and when I suggested to my boss a different way of handling a story (by trying to find people affected by the issue instead of just getting a quote from an official), he agreed, even though it will take longer. So, WIN!”

In the online seminar, Poynter’s Al Tompkins will guide you through weekly live discussions and feedback on your work. Travel to and from St. Petersburg and your hotel is on your own, but we have arranged for discounted hotel accommodations.

When you’re done, you’ll have a toolkit full of new skills and a roadmap to move your career ahead.

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


Week One: (September 11)

  • Finding the lead and focus of your story
  • Story shapes; What goes first, and why
  • Building to the big surprises
  • How breaking news writing is different


Week Two: (September 18)
The eight BIG motivators to make every story more interesting

  • Building memorable characters
  • How to write in active voice every time (and why it matters to your journalism)
  • How to avoid clichés and muddy modifiers
  • Capturing soundbites that sing
  • The importance of natural sound


Week Three at Poynter, St. Petersburg, Florida: (September 28, 29, 30, 2018)

  • What every MMJ/VJ reporter needs to know about photojournalism, lighting, motion, sequences, action/reaction and your camera
  • How to be a Story Idea Machine (never be without a pitch)
  • How to “Think Critically” and get beyond announcements, fake claims and spins
  • The Tough Calls Toolbox: practical ethics when you are tight on time
  • How to use FOIA laws and public databases to find stories others miss
  • How to be a mobile and social media superstar and drive viewers to your stories
  • How to talk with kids, crime victims and other vulnerable people
  • 30 Minutes of Fame: In-person focused feedback on your work including on-camera performance as well as journalism and storytelling content
  • Amazingly cool online tools and apps (learn to capture 360-degree interactive photos, build edited videos on your phone, produce animated gifs on your phone and more. Every tool is free and takes less than two minutes to use.)
  • How to be a social media superstar
  • How to effectively move your TV reporting to online

Please note - this is a sample list and subject to change.


Week Four: (October 9)

In this TWO-hour session, we will focus on Stand-ups and Teases.

You will submit examples of stand-ups and teases and the seminar group will offer feedback on your work.


Week Five: (October 16)

  • Your road ahead: you will interview your bosses to get insight on how you can grow in your newsroom and organization.
  • You will draft a plan of action to move your career ahead. We will be right there with you.


You’ll Learn:

  • How to write clearer, stronger stories—finding your focus, building to big surprises and more
  • What every reporter needs to know about lighting, motion, sequences, action/reaction and cameras
  • How to be a story idea machine and how you can never be without a pitch
  • How to get beyond announcements, fake claims and spins
  • The Tough Calls Toolbox: Practical ethics when you are tight on time
  • How to include new voices and see new parts of your community that are seldom covered
  • How you can grow in your newsroom and organization and create a road map to move your career ahead


Who Will Benefit:
TV reporters and VJ/MMJ/backpack journalists for television, as well as college educators and international journalists. This seminar also is perfect for photojournalists who want to learn to write and report.



“I got investigative tools that didn’t exist when I got started and which I haven’t found on my own. Having never done a live performance as a journalist, the tips and feedback I got will help me as I develop in my career.”

“The (Social Media) session was eye-opening. I had the notion that I was good at using social media as a research tool. What I learned not only shows how much more one can do than what I’ve been doing but how much more one can do than I even knew could be done.”

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