Poynter‘s Mission Is More Vital Than Ever
The summer after graduating from college, I was accepted into a six-week program at the Poynter Institute in sleepy St. Petersburg, Florida. This program aimed to help liberal arts graduates obtain real-world journalism training. Leading this six-week session was Roy Peter Clark (one of the world’s best and most patient writing coaches) who could certainly have a field day gently and constructively improving a lot of my Medium posts over the last few months.
Thirty years later, Poynter is still chugging away. It remains the world’s leading instructor, innovator, convener and resource for anyone who aspires to engage and inform citizens in 21st Century democracies. But much like the now-bustling city it still calls home, Poynter has changed a lot over the last three decades. To this end, this organization has developed many new strategies to embrace the changing nature of what we call news in today’s digital world. Witness their role in the new Facebook Journalism Project that was announced yesterday, as well as numerous other progressive measures (such as the relatively-recent addition of an International Fact Checking Network).
In 2014, I was honored to be invited to serve on Poynter’s National Advisory Board, an impressive group of innovative news professionals from across the US. I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge via my participation on the NAB over the last few years — and a lot of what I have learned has shaped the new Journalism Track we are hosting at SXSW 2017. Likewise, this daily column on Medium is in large part inspired by serving alongside these news industry leaders.
January 12 begins the annual two-day meeting for this National Advisory Board. Today and Friday, we will talk about the direction of Poynter (as well as the direction of the entire industry). On the heels of the absurd initial press conference for President-elect Trump, the timing of this 2017 gathering could not be more ironic. Or more important. The role of the free, informed and forward-thinking press in preserving our democracy has never been more important than now.
Hugh Forrest tries to write four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts generally cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.