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JWF Fellowships

Poynter Institute Experience

Reports from:Michele Brunoro | Jasmin Doobay | Ethan Faber | Brian Liu


Michele BrunoroMichele Brunoro
reporter, CTV British Columbia

A word from Michele Brunoro, CTV

I recently returned from my seminar entitled TV Power Reporting: Telling Stronger Stories. It was a great experience.

There has never been another time in my career where I've been given an entire week just to focus on improving my work. It was a chance to reflect on what it means to be a journalist and what I need to do to be better at it.

The critique sessions were extremely valuable as were the evaluations that colleagues back home were asked to fill-out.

I left Poynter with new tools to improve my writing, live hits and stand-ups. I also gained a lot of insight from the discussions with my classmates who came from TV stations across the U-S.

But most importantly, I left Poynter inspired. I left there with a renewed sense of why my job matters.

Thank-you so much for this memorable opportunity.




Jasmin DoobayJasmin Doobay
news director, CKOV 63 in Kelowna

I was initially going to take the "Leadership for New Managers" program, but Group Leader Jill Geisler contacted me and asked if I would be interested in upgrading to "Leadership Academy" as I have a couple of years as a manager in the books.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to go to Poynter and take it all in.

The Poynter Faculty and Staff were incredibly supportive and nurturing through this very intense 5 day program.

Right from the start I felt welcomed and embraced into the group.

The courses are presented in a way that makes you feel part of the process and not just lectured.

There were many AH-HA moments and the input from faculty and from fellow leaders was eye opening and very thought provoking.

The program takes you through to process of self discovery, input from your workplace, input from the homeroom on current issues and input from the faculty on where you are in the process of leadership.

The content was completely appropriate for my work place and I feel I came away with very tangible ideas and processes. The experience is something I will never forget and if I ever have a chance to go again, I would jump at it because everything I learned was definitely a compliment to my career.

And a word to future recipients:
The course is INTENSE.
At the end of the day, all you really want to do is hit your room to veg and debrief.
Don't bring family, you won't see them.
Do bring vitamins to keep your health and energy up.
Do take notes - there's so much information.
Do socialize with all the students, not just your homeroom - the collective knowledge and experience of the whole group is amazing.




Ethan FaberEthan Faber
assignment editor, CTV British Columbia

My Trip to Poynter
Course Taken: Leadership for New Managers, Dec 2-7, 2007

What an incredible experience: 23 of the best and brightest new managers from across North America sharing their challenges and coming up with strategies together. The sessions were led by Butch Ward, former Managing Editor of the Philadelphia Enquirer and Jill Geisler, a television News Director who's run some of the most successful newsrooms in the United States. Jill and Butch coached us on how to become inspiring leaders in our newsrooms, from finding solutions to major problems by tapping into the "wisdom in the room," to defining the values we want our newsrooms to represent and figuring out how we're going to make sure those values become part of our daily editorial process.

I left Poynter with short and long term goals for making my newsroom a more collaborative, inspiring and positive environment and I've already put some of my new skills to work. The results have been almost immediate, with reporters telling me I'm a better listener and coming to work with more and better story ideas. Poynter was a wake up call for me on what leadership means and I believe it's fundamentally changed my approach to newsroom management in a way that will benefit me personally and all the friends I work with every day.

Thank you, Webster Foundation, for this opportunity; I am confident your investment will pay off in the form of better journalism on CTV British Columbia.




Brian LiuBrian Liu
associate producer, Global National and CanWest Interactive

My Experience at the Poynter

Every journalist should attend the Poynter Institute at least once in their working career.

A bold statement, but something I firmly believe after attending a seminar that left me both enlightened and inspired.

My Poynter experience began before I even left Vancouver: In the weeks leading up to the trip, my peers and I had already established communications with each other through an email service that Poynter established specifically for our group - which we have the benefit of using forever - to share with each other the goals we hoped to achieve through the seminar.

The seminar began with an evening reception, and before the night was over, our group had already hit the ground running with an introductory brainstorming session.

Such was the pace of our three-day Online Leadership seminar, which was a broad topic in itself: Our group tackled one topic after another through intensive sessions on issues ranging from the latest media consumption habits to styles of leadership.

The faculty was impressive and well balanced with theoretical and analytical perspectives from Poynter staff, while guest speakers brought current and up-to-date experiences straight from their daily work environments. The seminar group was also the perfect size, providing a wide range of experiences from different news operations from around the world, while being intimate enough to allow each participant to have ample opportunities to engage in group discussions.

Of the many lessons and ideas I took away from the Poynter experience, two things stuck out the most: I learned something new about our audiences and about the way in which we should be conducting our news business that I wouldn't have been able to learn through any other means (such as reading a magazine or an online article), and I learned something about myself in terms of my style of leadership and how best to apply my leadership skills in an effective manner.

These two lessons were precisely what I had set out to learn through the seminar.

At the conclusion of the seminar, I only wished that we had more time to have a deeper discussion on some of the topics covered. On a few occasions, we had many more questions but simply no more time to answer them, but this may have simply been due to the broad nature of my particular field - the online and Interactive experience - that it is difficult to cover everything in just three days.

Overall, the experience was excellent and I highly recommend it. And it couldn't have been in a tougher location: St. Petersburg, Florida!




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