Applications Now Open For Online News Association-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media

Featured Faculty Include Hearken's Jennifer Brandel, Upworthy's Amy O'Leary and ProPublica's Sisi Wei

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Jan. 13, 2016 — (PRNewswire) —  The Poynter Institute and the Online News Association (ONA) are now accepting applications for the 2016 ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media, a transformative, tuition-free leadership program to train digital media's best and brightest women.

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Led by prominent women leaders in the startup, tech, media and academic fields, faculty will include Amy O'Leary, editorial director of Upworthy; Jennifer Brandel, founder and CEO of Hearken; Sisi Wei, investigative journalist and full-stack developer at ProPublica; Kelly McBride, Poynter's vice president of academic programs; and Katie Hawkins-Gaar, Poynter's digital innovation faculty member.

The second ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media, offered to 28 participants, will take place the week of May 1, 2016, at Poynter's campus in St. Petersburg, Florida. Tuition is free, thanks to the generous support of the program's naming sponsor, The McClatchy Foundation, as well as additional funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Craig Newmark.

The interactive, week-long program will focus on critical leadership skills specific to digital media for the industry's next generation of women leaders. Sessions will be structured to encourage open, candid discussion and mentoring, and participants will walk away with not only stronger leadership skills, but a built-in support system for the future.

"We were overwhelmed with hundreds and hundreds of applications for last year's leadership academy, and we were only able to accept a small percentage of those applicants. So, I'm thrilled that ONA and Poynter will be able to continue the academy this year. The response to last year's seminar shows how very needed this program is for women in digital media," said Poynter President Tim Franklin

Poynter and ONA both value diversity and will convene a group that represents need and diversity across ethnicity, geography, technology platforms, organization size and skill sets. Because of the small size of the class, the selection committee will give preference to applicants currently working in digital media who can demonstrate an aptitude and potential for leadership through current job title, project leadership and references.

The application deadline for the ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media is 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, Feb. 3. Application information is available at

Participants will cover their own travel costs. However, a limited number of travel stipends will be available and will be determined once the application process is completed.

Poynter and ONA are seeking additional funding from media and technology companies, foundations and academic institutions to enhance this transformative learning experience.  For more information on providing financial support, contact Elisa Jackson, Executive Director of the Poynter Foundation, at Email Contact, or Jess Strelitz, ONA Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships, at Email Contact.

For more information on the class, contact Tina Dyakon, Poynter's director of advertising and marketing, at Email Contact, or Jennifer Mizgata, ONA's Senior Communications Manager, at Email Contact.

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,, offers the world's largest online journalism curriculum in 7 languages, with more than 400 interactive courses and 330,000 registered users in more than 200 countries. The Institute's website,, 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.

About the Online News Association
The Online News Association is the world's largest association of online journalists. ONA's mission is to inspire innovation and excellence among journalists to better serve the public. The membership includes news writers, producers, designers, editors, bloggers, technologists, photographers, academics, students and others who produce and distribute news for digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association annual conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.

Contact: Tina Dyakon
Director of Advertising and Marketing
The Poynter Institute
Email Contact

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