Journalism Sense-Makers Convene at Poynter

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Non-traditional journalists -- bloggers, entrepreneurs and freelancers, among them -- are gathering at Poynter to explore the ethics and values emerging from new media.

For the second consecutive year, prominent members of the Fifth Estate—those practicing non-traditional forms of journalism—are gathering at Poynter to participate in a conference focused on the ethics and values that are emerging from new media. More than 25 freelancers, bloggers, entrepreneurs and other web independents are participating in the conference, which is the first in a series of programs Poynter will host this year under a new $750,000 grant it received from the Ford Foundation. The grant enables the institute to build on its Sense-Making Project, an initiative it launched with Ford last year to help citizens make sense of the changing news environment.

“Our goals for the conference include exploring how to nurture a diverse set of leaders among the Fifth Estate and to identify the news content and audience behavior patterns these Sense-Makers are experiencing,” said Kelly McBride, Poynter’s ethics group leader and lead faculty for the Sense-Making programs. “We will look at best practices and ask the group to articulate the training needs we should address in building a core curriculum for non-traditional journalists.”

The 2010 Poynter Sense-Making Fellows are:

Kaizar Campwala, editor of the non-profit, online start-up, NewsTrust
Melissa Cornick, former network news producer, web entrepreneur and graduate student
Lauren Michelle Criddle, soprano opera singer
Drew Curtis, editor-in-chief,, the Internet’s oldest news aggregator
Jon DeVries, senior vice president for communications, Collins Center for Public Policy
Geoff Dougherty, editor of the Daily News and CEO of PublicMedia, Inc.
Susan Gardner, co-founder and executive editor, ePluribus Media
Angie Drobnic Holan, reporter and researcher, PolitiFact
Bridget Huber, student and reporter, Mission Loc@l
Anna John, blogger and co-founder, Sepia Mutiny
Alli Joseph, founder and president, Seventh Generation Stories
Peggy Kaplan, blogger and “philosopher realtor”
Doug Mitchell, entrepreneur and founder of NPR’s “Next Generation Radio”
Ray Nichols, corporate retiree, volunteer and social media guru
Maegan “la Mamita Mala” Ortiz, Nuyorican radical mami media maker, poeta, and activist
Latoya Peterson, certified media junkie, feminist and editor,
Chris Rabb, Consultant, public speaker and author of “Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity” (Berrett-Koehler 2010)
Tracy Record, editor and co-publisher of West Seattle Blog
Kristina Rizga, freelance writer and co-founder of WireTap Magazine
Jeff Scheuer, media and politics writer and author of two books, “The Sound Bite Society” (1999) and “The Big Picture: Why Democracies Need Journalistic Excellence” (2007)
Simran Sethi, Emmy Award-winning journalist and associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications
Rolf Skyberg, disruptive innovator, researcher, quality assurance engineer and advisor, Innovation Exchange
Steve Suo, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder, Nozzl Media, Inc.
Kittie W. Watson, president and founder of Innolect, Inc.
Shawn P. Williams, editor of the nonprofit news website,

Poynter will use feedback provided by the fellows in planning programs it will offer later this year. “Critical Tools for the Non-Traditional Journalist” will teach the skills necessary to ensure the success of blogs, online community sites and digital publications. In “Bottom Line News: Creating Sustainable Journalism Start-ups,” Poynter faculty Bill Mitchell will work with entrepreneurs to develop strategies for creating content, engaging an audience and finding revenue to support an enterprise.

“These people are out there doing journalism in unorthodox ways, every day. They are leaders within their communities,” said McBride. “They have a wealth of experience and some great ideas about how to make journalism work in the digital space. We want to tap into their knowledge and help them hone their skills.”

For more information about upcoming training programs, please visit

About The Poynter Institute
Poynter trains journalism practitioners, media leaders, educators and citizens 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 ( offers newsroom training to journalists and journalism students through interactive e-learning modules and links to other journalism education and training opportunities. Poynter's Web site, ( is the dominant provider of journalism news, with a focus on business analysis and the opportunities and implications of technology.

About the Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than half a century it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Kelly McBride, faculty, kmcbride (at) poynter (dot) org                                                                    
Jessica Sandler, marketing director, jsandler (at) poynter (dot) org    
Phone: 1-888-POYNTER (1-888-769-6837)


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