Journalism

Poynter Institute reinventing News University for new realities of journalism

Above: A producer monitors the online conversation between Poynter faculty member Al Tompkins and interactive learning producer Vanessa Goodrum. Photo courtesy The Poynter Institute.

Vicki Krueger is marketing communications manager at The Poynter Institute. She formerly was Poynter’s director of interactive learning, where she managed News University, the world’s largest journalism online learning platform. NewsU was launched in 2005 with funding from Knight Foundation. Today, Knight Foundation is announcing $758,000 in support to remake Poynter News University.

In today’s disrupted media environment, journalism training matters more than ever. The demand—and the need—has never been greater. With new funding from Knight, The Poynter Institute will build upon our tradition of innovation in journalism education by reimagining what we do and how we do it. We will transform the ways media professionals, educators and everyone interested in journalism and storytelling grows their skills to meet the demands of a complex digital environment.

Poynter’s e-learning platform reached a record 102,000 users in 2015. That’s in addition to the 1 million page views monthly at poynter.org, plus the tens of thousands who have attended Poynter in-person seminars and workshops.

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Faculty member Al Tompkins and interactive learning producer Vanessa Goodrum conduct a Poynter conversation on covering gun violence. Photo courtesy The Poynter Institute. 

It’s time to rethink how Poynter can unleash the power of new platforms with new tools and new technologies. It’s time to expand our capacity to train journalists and to engage new audiences. It’s time to inspire innovation in mobile storytelling and audience engagement, as well as equip journalists to embrace forms of journalism that will evolve as technology moves us forward.

Our goal is to give journalists more resources for telling stronger stories and inspire digital innovation for all media organizations. Our redesigned site will feature a multiplatform strategy that enables us to create and deliver training across a range of digital devices. We will apply the latest training techniques using games, interactive hands-on practice and video. And we will integrate e-learning with our news site, poynter.org, making it easier for people to learn about our in-person, online and corporate training partnerships, as well as our in-depth coverage of the media industry.

For more than a decade, journalists and the educators who teach aspiring ones have turned to Poynter News University to acquire the skills they need in an ever-changing digital media eco-system. Maybe you’re already part of the Poynter NewsU community. You might be one of the 8,000 who have taken one of the editing courses offered with the American Copy Editors Society. Maybe you’re a journalist at McClatchy, Gatehouse or the USA TODAY Network who has earned a certificate in digital newsgathering or leadership. Maybe you’ve learned from one of our courses in Spanish, Turkish or Russian. You know we’ve been your go-to resource for training throughout your career.

“The ultimate value that NewsU brings is the connections it makes among its faculty, journalists and the professionals making the industry better,” wrote Daniel Gaddy, assistant metro editor at the Anniston (Alabama) Star for our 2015 anniversary celebration. “Because of those connections, newsrooms around the world can keep improving.”

This platform update, the most significant upgrade since NewsU launched in 2005 , will enhance the learning experience. It will also allow Poynter to reach more journalists and educators, as well as other audiences, including non-journalists who would benefit from our teaching about communication, leadership, critical thinking, audience development, social media and more.

Thanks to Knight Foundation for more than a decade of funding and support. Thanks to our many partners who have worked with us to develop courses and programs to make journalism better around the world. Most of all, thanks to all 350,000 registered users at NewsU. In 2005, we started with a simple tagline: It’s all about U. That still holds true. We will continue to innovate, educate and create the best training in the world for your career success.

Contact Vicki Krueger via email [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @vkrueger.