Applications Open for ONA-Poynter Women's Leadership Academy

By on January 12, 2015

The Online News Association (ONA) and the Poynter Institute are now accepting applications for the ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. Led by prominent women leaders in the startup, tech, media and academic fields, faculty will include S. Mitra Kalita, current Executive Editor (at large) for Quartz and adjunct faculty at Poynter; Kelly McBride, Poynter’s Vice President of Academic Programs; and Liz Heron, Facebook’s Manager of News Partnerships.

Only 25 promising women leaders will be selected for the program, held April 12-17 at Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg, Fla. This groundbreaking, tuition-free seminar will help women gain and polish the skills and knowledge needed to rise to the highest levels of media leadership. The classes will be structured to encourage open, candid discussion and networking, and participants will walk away with not only strong skills, but a built-in support system for the future.

Individual workshops will explore effective management styles, understanding journalism business models, navigating newsroom and digital culture, staying on top of technology trends, building entrepreneurial and collaborative teams, managing across differences, and coaching critical thinking. Each participant in this inaugural class will be matched with an industry mentor. And the class will continue to gather virtually as a cohort group for at least a year following the April seminar.

Because of the small size of the first class, the selection committee will give preference to applicants currently working in digital media who can demonstrate an aptitude for leadership through current job title, project leadership and references. ONA and Poynter both value diversity and are looking for a group that represents need and diversity across ethnicity, age, geography, technology platforms, organization size and skill sets. Participants will cover their own travel costs. A limited number of travel stipends will be available.

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“We’re looking forward to hearing from a dynamic cross-section of the talented women we see working in our field every day,” said Jane McDonnell, ONA Executive Director, “and giving them the support they need.”

“I’m honored to be teaching in this program,” said Poynter’s Kelly McBride. “But I’m even more excited to learn alongside the class. I wish I had a program like this available to me early in my career. It’s about time that we did something to address the documented barriers women face as they try to climb to the highest levels of leadership in media companies.”

The ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media was funded through the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with additional funding support from Google, craigconnects and the Ford Foundation.

For more information on curriculum and applications, contact Andrew DeLong at

For more information on providing financial support, please contact Jess Strelitz, ONA Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships, or Kim Tobin, Poynter’s Marketing and Communications Strategy Manager, at

About the Online News Association
The Online News Association is the world’s largest association of digital journalists. ONA’s mission is to inspire innovation and excellence among journalists to better serve the public. Membership includes journalists, technologists, executives, academics and students who produce news for and support digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.

About The Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is an international 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 6 languages, with more than 400 interactive courses and 300,000 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.

Jane McDonnell

Jane McDonnell

As executive director, Jane oversees and manages the day-to-day operations of the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, working closely with the Board of Directors. Her purview includes membership, partnerships, global community outreach, budgeting and revenue generation, fundraising and development, the Online Journalism Awards, and providing vision for ONA’s state-of-the-art annual conference.