Poynter, API and Knight Foundation team up to help newspapers with digital tools training

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Poynter Institute, the American Press Institute and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation are teaming up to provide a major public service at a critical time by launching a new program featuring ongoing training in the state-of-the-art digital tools that newspapers need to multiply their productivity and impact.

Workshops and webinars aimed at the digital transformation of newspapers will be funded from a $1.5 million endowment at the newly created Poynter Foundation, which will carry out a strategic plan for significantly increasing and diversifying philanthropic support for Poynter.

“This partnership underscores Knight Foundation’s commitment to excellent journalism, API’s service to the editorial and business interests of newspapers, and Poynter’s role in shaping journalism’s future through creative, effective teaching,” said Karen Dunlap, Poynter’s president.

“By combining the best of what we do, we think we can make a lasting, visible change in the digital transformation of newspapers,” said Caroline Little, president and CEO of API.

The American Press Institute – providing training, research and best practices for newspaper executives – recently merged with the NAA Foundation and is headquartered at the Newspaper Association of America, the nation’s leading newspaper organization. Poynter, a top journalism training center, will work with API and Knight to develop a curriculum that shows reporters, editors and business-side leaders how to effectively apply new digital tools to their work, and how to develop a culture of innovation in their organizations.

Poynter’s dean, Stephen Buckley, leads the project. Buckley said online and in-person sessions will be used in teaching journalists how to use digital tools for investigative and enterprise reporting, as well as products and revenue models. Poynter’s News University is the leading online journalism training site, with more than 200,000 users in 225 countries.

Discussions are under way to choose the first group of tools for the training program. Examples of popular tools range from sophisticated national government databases like Tracfed to in-depth reporting tools like Document Cloud. Commercial tools can vary from syndication tools like NewsCred to platforms that help newspapers sell digital services to merchants such as OwnLocal.

“We’re right at the start of an explosion of digital tools that can make journalism much more powerful,” said Michael Maness, vice president/journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation. “We need to find ways to build the rapid adoption of these ‘power tools’ into the day-to-day routines of newspapers.”

About API: API advocates the value of newspaper media and all news media, and the value of independent journalism as a cornerstone of democracy. The merger of the American Press Institute and the NAA Foundation combines the strengths of both organizations to provide advanced training and best practices for and on behalf of leaders in the newspaper industry.

About The Poynter Institute: Founded in 1975 in St. Petersburg, Fla., The Poynter Institute is one of the nation’s top schools for professional journalists and news media leaders, as well as future journalists and journalism teachers. Poynter offers training throughout the year in the areas of online and multimedia, leadership and management, reporting, writing and editing, TV and radio, ethics and diversity, journalism education and visual journalism. Poynter’s News University (www.newsu.org) offers journalism training to the public through more than 200 interactive modules and other forms of e-learning. Poynter’s website (www.poynter.org) is the dominant provider of journalism news, with a focus on business analysis and the opportunities and implications of technology. Poynter owns the Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s largest newspaper.

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 www.knightfoundation.org.