Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online. For almost 10 years, thousands of people a day read his online journalism story idea column “Al’s Morning Meeting” on Poynter.org.
Tompkins is the author of the book “Aim For The Heart: A Guide for TV Producers and Reporters,” which was adopted by more than 75 universities as their main broadcast writing textbook.
He co-authored four editions of the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation’s “Newsroom Ethics” workbook. Tompkins joined Poynter’s faculty from his job as news director at WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tenn. For 24 years, he worked as a photojournalist, reporter, producer, anchor, assistant news director, special projects/investigations director, documentary producer and news director.
Tompkins has trained thousands of television news producers, reporters, photojournalists and managers in his One-Day Storytelling Workshops in 45 states, Canada, Denmark, Iceland and South Africa. He has taught and coached print newsrooms in the U.S. and abroad how to build interactive news websites, how to use video more effectively online and how to manage ethical issues that arise online.
Awards: Tompkins was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame and in 2008 was awarded The Governor’s Award, the highest honor given by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. During his two and a half decades as a journalist, Tompkins has won the National Emmy, the Peabody Award (group award), the Japan Prize, the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel for Court Reporting, seven National Headliner Awards, two Iris Awards and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.
He is a co-producer of the hour-long documentary, “Saving Stefani,” featured as a special “Dateline NBC” and was awarded the 1999 Clarion Award. The 10-year documentary project tells the story of a young girl that Tompkins and a medical team found dying in a Guatemala hospital.
Tompkins also serves as a final juror on the duPont-Columbia Awards, the Scripps Howard National Journalism Awards and is a national screener for the Investigative Reporter and Editor awards.
Consulting and Teaching in Newsrooms:
Among the clients for whom Tompkins taught and/or consulted are: Harvard University Nieman Foundation, ABC Owned and Operated Stations, Telemundo Television Stations; Meredith Television Stations; Scripps Howard Television, NBC owned and operation stations Promotions Directors; Stations; Hearst Argyle Television Stations; Gannett Television Stations; Griffin Communications; NBC Owned and Operated Stations; New York Times Television Stations; Cox Television; Cox Cable, Cox Washington DC Bureau, RUV TV (Iceland), Belo Television Stations; Freedom Newspapers of Florida, Freedom Newspapers of North Carolina, The Raleigh News & Observer, Shurz Broadcast stations, Radio and Television News Directors Association; RTNDA Canada; Radio and Television News Directors Foundation; The Ford Foundation; Hampton University, Kings University, Marymount University, Scranton University, University of Kentucky, University of South Florida, Belmont University, Western Kentucky University, Middle Tennessee State University, The Sacramento Bee; The Scholastic Journalism Association; Global TV Calgary; Global TV Edmonton Ca, CBC Toronto, CBC Calgary, CBC Regina, CTV Toronto, Canada AM; Alabama Broadcasters Association; Arkansas Broadcasters Association; Oklahoma Broadcasters Association; Hawaii Association of Broadcasters; Texas Association of Broadcasters; Ohio AP Broadcasters Association; Pennsylvania Broadcasters Association; Illinois Broadcasters Association; Washington State Broadcasters Association; Georgia Broadcasters Association; Tennessee Broadcasters Association; Louisiana Broadcasters Association; New York State Broadcasters Association; West Virginia Broadcasters Association; Missouri Broadcasters Association; Virginia Broadcasters Association; North Carolina Broadcasters Association; South Carolina Association of Broadcasters; Wisconsin Broadcasters Association; Iowa Broadcasters Association; Oregon Broadcasters, North Carolina Press Association, Alaska Broadcasters Association, Montana SPJ, New Mexico Broadcasters Association; Illinois Press Association, North Carolina Press Association; Hoosier Press Association National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences — NATAS (Pennsylvania); PBS-Nightly Business Report, NATAS (Washington DC); NATAS (Miami); WMC-TV; WSB-TV;KXAS-TV; KHOU-TV; WNEM-TV; KPHO-TV; WEWS-TV; WPTV-TV; WESH-TV; WKMG-TV; WTVW-TV; WPBF-TV; WHO-TV; KWTV-TV; WZZM-TV; WNEP-TV; WTKR-TV; KTHV-TV; KCTV-TV; WGAL; WTVF; WSBT; Bay News 9; News 8 Austin; RNews, WTSP; KTHV; KVUE; WHO-TV, RUV-TV Iceland.