Poynter’s News University, world’s largest online journalism teaching platform, to get revamp with $195,000 from Knight Foundation

St. Petersburg, Fla. – April 10, 2015 – To propel the next generation of online training and give journalists and others easier access to learning tools, The Poynter Institute will embark on a new plan to expand and improve Poynter’s News University with $195,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Announcement of the plan coincides with News University’s 10th birthday.

Knight funding will support the first phase of the most ambitious rethinking and retooling of the e-learning platform since it was launched. When completed, NewsU will be a more appealing experience, allow for more interactivity and be more tailored to mobile devices. Revamp of the news site will be guided by design thinking, an approach that incorporates feedback from users when developing new ideas, so audience needs are built into the innovation process.


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“This grant will expand NewsU’s capacity as the leader in online training that shapes the transformation of journalists worldwide and allows them to experience Poynter everywhere,” said Poynter President Tim Franklin. “We are grateful that we can continue Knight’s partnership to help us reach NewsU’s full potential across new platforms with new tools and technologies.”

“The reimagined NewsU will also serve Knight Foundation’s goal, ‘to preserve the best aspects of journalism and use innovation to expand the impact of information in the digital age’,” Franklin added. “Throughout its nearly 40-year history, Poynter has always been a place where innovation happens, and NewsU’s critical role in that innovation will continue as we re-envision the next generation of e-learning.”

“The digital age demands that journalists constantly update their skills. At the same time, available training tools have to keep up,” said Shazna Nessa, Knight Foundation director for journalism. “NewsU has established itself as a leader in online learning for journalists and beyond. This phased refresh will allow it to continue on that path, making it more responsive and adaptable, while helping advance journalism through new insights, tools and research.”  

Support for News University is one part of Knight’s efforts to advance excellence in journalism. Poynter’s NewsU was created with $2.8 million from Knight Foundation in 2003. Knight also supported a relaunch of the e-learning project in 2009 with $1.4 million, including the development of NewsU International. Since its official launch on April 11, 2005, NewsU has grown to more than 325,000 registered users, 400 course modules and training in seven languages, with users in more than 200 countries and territories.

For more information on NewsU, visit newsu.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more information, please visit knightfoundation.org.

About The Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education, and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and 21st century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., and at conferences and organizational sites around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, www.newsu.org, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum in 7 languages, with more than 400 interactive courses and 325,000 registered users in more than 200 countries. The Institute’s website, www.poynter.org, produces 24-hour coverage of news about media, ethics, technology, the business of news and the trends that currently define and redefine journalism news reporting. The world’s top journalists and media innovators come to Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcast producers, and to build public awareness about journalism, media, the First Amendment and protected discourse that serves democracy and the public good.


Kim Tobin, Marketing Communications Strategy Manager, The Poynter Institute,
727-553-4707, [email protected]

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, [email protected]