TV Power Reporting Academy

DEADLINE: Applications closed
TEACHING DATES: Sept. 6 – Oct. 18, 2019
LOCATION: Online and in-person at the Poynter Institute
COST: $499

New 50% scholarships available for members of NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA and NAJA, thanks to CNN.

Some of the biggest names in local and network television journalism are graduates from our TV Power Reporting Academy. Our alumni include John Larson, Boyd Huppert, Byron Pitts, Stuart Watson, Byron Harris and Roberta Baskin. Now, it’s your turn to gain the skills, strategy and confidence to elevate your career in broadcast.

We keep things practical, usable and affordable.

Power Reporting is one of Poynter’s signature seminars, and our 2019 academy will once again be led by senior faculty for broadcast and online, Al Tompkins. For more than 25 years, TV reporters, photojournalists, visual journalists and multimedia journalists have relied on Poynter to build their reporting, writing and ethical decision-making skills.

During this hybrid online and in-person training, you will get individual feedback on your work, hone your critical thinking and learn to find the stories that others miss. When you’re done, you’ll have a toolkit full of practical skills and a roadmap to move your career ahead. Here’s what one attendee said:

“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-Person Teaching Dates

Sept. 27- 29, 2019

The Poynter Institute

St. Petersburg, Florida

Live Video Sessions

Tuesday, Sept. 10, 12-1 p.m. Eastern

Tuesday, Sept. 17, 12-1 p.m. Eastern

Tuesday, Oct. 1, 12-2 p.m. Eastern

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 12-1 p.m. Eastern

If you’re unable to attend a live session, there will be a recording available.


Al Tompkins, Senior Faculty, Broadcast and Online

Al Tompkins
Senior Faculty for Broadcasting and Online
The Poynter Institute

Al Tompkins has taught television news producers, reporters, photojournalists and managers in his workshops in 49 states, Canada, Egypt, Ecuador, Denmark, Cayman, Iceland and South Africa. He has taught and coached print newsrooms in the U.S. and abroad how to build interactive news websites, how to use video more effectively online and how to manage ethical issues that arise online.

Tompkins is an FAA licensed drone pilot and has organized and lead drone journalism workshops around America that produced more than 325 graduates. He co-authored the drone ethics guide.

Tompkins is the author of the book “Aim For The Heart: Write, Shoot, Report, Produce for TV and Online,” which is being used by more than 125 universities as their main broadcast writing, reporting and ethics textbook.

Ramon Escobar
Vice President Talent Recruitment and Development

Ramon Escobar is vice president of talent recruitment and development and the vice president of diversity and inclusion for CNN Worldwide. He is responsible for the recruitment of all on and off-air talent for CNN U.S., CNN International, CNN en Español and HLN. He also advances the internal development of all anchors, correspondents, contributor and producers. Escobar is based out of New York City and has held his position of vice president of talent recruitment and development since 2012. He was named the vice president of diversity and inclusion January 2017.

He came to CNN after several years spent at Telemundo, most recently as executive vice president of network news, overseeing the entire news division including all international news bureaus and the development of on-air talent. While at Telemundo his other roles included senior executive vice president of entertainment and senior vice president of news and creative services.

Brendan Keefe
Chief Investigator
Atlanta’s WXIA — 11Alive

Brendan Keefe is the Chief Investigator for 11 Alive Atlanta, leading the national-award-winning Reveal investigative team at WXIA.

Keefe’s investigative work has been honored with the Peabody Award, the duPont Columbia Award, three National Murrow Awards, the Investigative Reporters & Editors Award, the Scripps Howard Award, the Hillman Prize, the American Legion Fourth Estate Award, The Gannett Al Neuharth Award for Investigative Reporting, the TEGNA Investigative Pinnacle Award, and a career total of 89 regional Emmys.

He has spent the last three decades reporting for news stations in Georgia, Ohio, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, and New York City. He has served as a war correspondent embedded with US Army troops in Iraq, covered a dozen hurricanes, and he created the first all-digital tapeless news story in 1996.

Kelly McBride
Senior Vice President
The Poynter Institute

Kelly McBride is a writer, teacher and one of the country’s leading voices when it comes to media ethics. She has been on the faculty of The Poynter Institute since 2002 and is its senior vice president. She is also the Craig Newmark Journalism Ethics Chair of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at Poynter. Before joining Poynter, she was a daily newspaper reporter in the Northwest for 15 years. Kelly served as ESPN’s ombudsman in 2012 and 2013. She has been a featured speaker at SXSW, the Online News Association annual conference and the Aspen Festival of Ideas. Her side hustle is the Everyday Ethics podcast.

The world’s largest newsrooms, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NPR and the BBC, frequently seek her advice for internal decisions and quote her expertise in their stories. She is the co-editor, along with Tom Rosenstiel, of The New Ethics of Journalism: Principles for the 21st Century, which features essays by 14 thought leaders and practitioners, as well as a new code of ethics for journalists and people who care about journalism.

She is a leading expert on covering sexual assault, suicide and mental health issues, plagiarism, and the connection between an ethical press and a strong democracy.

Adam Vance
Chief Photojournalist
Bay News 9, Spectrum News

Adam has a mass communication degree from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, NM. While pursuing his degree, he continued to work as a journalist with both the Amarillo Globe News and Scene 3 News.

Immediately following graduation he was hired by Albuquerque’s NBC affiliate KOB-TV. Later on, he  joined KOAT-TV before embarking to Tampa with his wife Paulette. As a special projects photojournalist/editor and satellite truck operator for 10News/WTSP.COM, Adam had the opportunity to bring the Tampa Bay viewers multiple national stories including NASA launches, huge sporting events like Super Bowls, World Series, and Stanley Cup Championships along with countless hurricanes. Having completed 13 years with 10News, he has figured out this business is not only about storytelling, it is about people.

He joined the NPPA faculty to help a new generation of storytellers find their creative and their logistical, technical mindset.

Tuition and scholarships

The cost is $499, which includes tuition for the four-week online group seminar and in-person training at Poynter. Travel to and from St. Petersburg and your hotel is on your own, but we have arranged for discounted hotel accommodations.

Thanks to generous support from CNN, members of NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA and NAJA may apply for 50 percent tuition scholarship. If you are a member of one of these associations, please email to receive your scholarship code.

What you will 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 roadmap to move your career ahead


Below is a tentative schedule for the 2019 program. Sessions and instructors are subject to change.

Sept. 10, live class at noon ET

  • 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

Sept. 17, live class at noon ET

  • 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 sound bites that sing
  • The importance of natural sound

Sept. 27-29, at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida

  • 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

Oct. 1, live class at noon ET

  • 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.

Oct. 8, live class at noon ET

  • 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.

Who should apply

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.

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’d love to hear from you. Email us at