A collegiate partnership: Indiana University students tell tales of two days at Poynter

When a group of journalism students from Indiana University traveled to Florida for spring break, they were on a mission. They wanted to soak up as much knowledge as they could from the special partnership between their school and Poynter.

The group of 17 sophomores are Ernie Pyle Scholars from the Indiana University School of Journalism in Bloomington. They were joined by six graduate students from IU’s National Sports Journalism Center in Indianapolis.

Their enthusiasm was evident as they walked through the halls.

“The sessions at Poynter were tremendously helpful and inspirational,” wrote Matt Callahan a sophomore member of the Ernie Pyle Scholars. “It helped me reconfirm that Journalism is what I want to do.”

The students received two days of specialized training as part of the yearlong partnership between Poynter and IU. They attended interactive workshops on topics relating to storytelling, social media, critical thinking and ethics.

Poynter’s first formal collegiate partner, IU has already completed five of eleven planned projects with the institute. Some events are hosted on the Poynter campus in St. Petersburg, others take place online or on the IU campus.

Sophomore Claire Wiseman particularly enjoyed “Storytelling Across Platforms,” a session led by Sara Quinn, who directs the partnership program. It got her thinking about the impact visual aids, like infographics, have on readers.

“As someone who has primarily focused on print so far, it was really interesting for me to get some perspective on the different kinds of storytelling we see,” said Wiseman, who writes for the Indiana Daily Student.

Graduate student Lee Horton said a session on sports ethics led by Kelly McBride and Butch Ward was his favorite session.

“They taught us that we have to answer a lot of questions about an ethical dilemma before we make a decision on how to report it—and whether or not to report it,” Horton said. “It was fantastic.”

On day two, the Ernie Pyle Scholars got the opportunity to meet an award-winning journalist and author who was visiting Poynter that week. “I was fortunate enough to meet the face of investigative journalism, Bob Woodward,” said sophomore Evie Salomon.

“Easily one of the best parts of the trip for me was the opportunity to spend time with Bob Woodward,” said IU sophomore Matt Callahan. “During the question and answer session after his dinner, he offered advice to the IU students there, ‘Take all of your assumptions and presumptions, put them in your back pocket and do the research.’ ”

Sophomore Deanna Allbrittin, who reports for the broadcast show Hoosier News Source, said she is excited to share what she learned during the workshop with colleagues at IU.

“I’ve been scribbling down notes for things we can apply to the news show,” Allbrittin said.

Poynter is now offering collegiate partnerships to select schools, with a menu of possible training for students, faculty and staff.

“We’re working to fit the needs of individual journalism programs and finding the best possible price to suit a school’s budget,” said Quinn. “We like to offer our expertise and we can teach in a variety of different ways” This includes programs for faculty development, retreats on new curriculum, hands-on training for students, packages of customized Skype sessions and more.

Andrew DeLong, Poynter correspondent

Student blogs:

To read more about the experiences of the IU students, check out their blogs. Ernie Pyle Scholars: http://journalism.indiana.edu/programs/poynter/ Graduate Students: http://sportsjournalism.org/our-student-experiences/

Interested in a collegiate partnership with Poynter? Contact Sara Quinn for more information.