Seminar Application Information

Our seminars cover a range of topics to meet a growing set of journalism needs, particularly in the area of multimedia. We invite you to join Poynter faculty and some of the industry’s most accomplished journalists for several days of intensive training.

We try to create a seminar group that reflects a rich mix of people and consider the factors of experience, race, gender, ethnicity, circulation and market size, and geography. Generally, our participants are full-time employees of a news organization or journalism educators.

How to Apply

To apply for a Poynter seminar, go to the Web address shown with the listing. Click on “Apply Now.” Please note application deadlines. Check seminar descriptions for more information and any additional application materials required. Please print your completed form for your records, before clicking “Submit.” Nominating letters can be e-mailed to seminars@poynter.org.

If you’re unable to apply online, please send an e-mail outlining the issues you are having to seminars@poynter.org. Someone from our staff will get back to you and assist you with the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know if I’m eligible to apply? A: Generally, our participants are full-time employees of a news organization or journalism educators. Freelancers, however, are welcome to apply. Check the “Who should attend?” section in each listing for additional information. If you’re still not sure, call or e-mail the contact person shown with the seminar on Poynter,org.

Q: What kind of schedule should I expect? A: Usually daily sessions begin promptly at 9 a.m. and last until at least 5 p.m., with some evening meetings. First day sessions on the weekend can start any time from 3-6 p.m. Seminars usually end by 3 p.m. on the last day. Please use these times as a guideline only.

Q: Do you give academic credit? A: The Poynter Institute is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Council on Occupational Education, but we are not a degree-granting institution. Universities have granted undergraduate or graduate credit for our programs. The Poynter staff can provide specific information and assistance, but in most cases, participants must make prior arrangements to receive credit from their college or university. Poynter’s News University awards certificates of proficiency to individuals who successfully complete the assessments in a curriculum track of Poynter NewsU e-learning modules. For information, go to www.newsu.org/resources/certificates.

Q: What about applicants from outside the United States? A: Due to current restrictions on student visas, we can be of very limited assistance in helping you obtain travel documents. When applying for a seminar at Poynter, please remember that: Early notification is not always possible because faculty members choose participants from a full pool of applicants, and selections are usually not made until six weeks before the start of the seminar.

Participants are responsible for obtaining their own travel documents and visas and for making and financing their own travel arrangements.

For information about travel requirements to the U.S., check the Web site for the U.S. Embassy in your country at http://usembassy.state.gov.

IMPORTANT SEMINAR APPLICATION INFORMATION

At Poynter, we keep our classes small (around 16-18 participants) to encourage lively discussions and to allow faculty members to give focused attention to individual participants. Here are some helpful hints to assist you in applying for a Poynter seminar.

When applying: Complete ALL required questions on the application form (the form is seminar specific) and e-mail nominating letters to seminars@poynter.org. We encourage the application of women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons attending a Poynter seminar for the first time, organizations nominating a staff member for the first time and individuals who have applied for previous seminars but were not accepted. We try to create a seminar group that reflects a rich mix of people, and we consider the factors of experience, race, gender, ethnicity, circulation/market size and geography.

Tuition. Tuition for most professional seminars in 2014 ranges from $300-$1,250. Tuition covers materials and instruction and sometimes some meals. Fees for short conferences and Online Group Seminars range from $300-$500. NOTE: Please do not send a check for tuition until you are notified of acceptance into the seminar for which you are applying.

Financial assistance. Poynter has some limited partial scholarships available for those in need of assistance with the tuition fee. Applicants seeking financial assistance should e-mail a letter to seminars@poynter.org, after submitting an application, explaining why they need scholarship help and what they or their organization can contribute toward their tuition. In addition, applicants should provide a letter of support from someone who can explain how the scholarship will contribute to their development as a journalist.

Scholarships will be awarded based on a number of factors, including:
* How the applicant thinks the training will improve her or his work
* What the applicant will contribute to the seminar’s diversity (including race, ethnicity, work experience, size of organization, location, etc.)
* The applicant’s ability to contribute to her or his tuition
* Whether or not the application was filed by the posted deadline

Cancellations. Sometimes unexpected events – sudden illness, a death in the family – prevent participants from attending a seminar. In cases like those, Poynter will issue a full refund. But, in general, participants who withdraw from a seminar within 21 days of the course won’t be eligible for a refund. (Instead of losing your payment, you may choose to enroll in another course.)

Attire. Dress throughout the week is casual.

Travel, transportation and lodging. Most seminars are held at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., unless noted otherwise in the seminar description. Participants are responsible for their travel and housing expenses. St. Petersburg is served by Tampa International Airport, located 25 miles from Poynter. Transportation from the airport to St. Petersburg is available by taxi (approximately $50) and airport shuttle ($25). Nearby hotels to the Institute are within walking distance and most can provide a shuttle to Poynter when needed, so it isn’t necessary to rent a car. A block of rooms for each seminar will be held at a nearby hotel, with a discounted room rate, subject to availability after the reservation cut-off date.

Additional tips for applicants

  • Application materials checklist: application form (online or hardcopy), to include, a) current resume or job history statement; b) brief biography; c) seminar essay; d) nominating letter; and if requested in the seminar description, samples of work. If needed, a statement requesting financial assistance can be e-mailed to seminars@poynter.org.
  • Polish up your resume. Be sure it is up-to-date and presents your experience and accomplishments in their best light. Or, a job history statement explaining the above is also sufficient.
  • Introduce yourself. Writing 200 words or less in the third person, tell us what you’re doing now and you’ve done in the past. This will be the bio that introduces you to other participants. This is not the same as (or in place of) your resume/job history.
  • The nominating letter counts. Your recommendation letter is every bit as important as the other pieces of your application package. The letter should provide details about your strengths and your commitment to journalism.
  • The importance of the essay. Develop a terrific 250- to 500- word essay describing your passion and dedication to the craft. We also want to know about your daily duties, how this seminar is relevant to your job, your seminar goals and how you will apply your training when you get back to your newsroom.
  • Don’t procrastinate. Allow yourself sufficient time to develop a package of informative application materials, and be sure to complete ALL pertinent questions on the application form. Submit all the application materials at once and be sure everything is complete and to us via online, fax, mail or e-mail by the deadline date.
  • And don’t forget: Some seminars require you to include samples of your work. If so, take the time to put together examples of your best work that meet the requirements. Some samples need to be in a digital format.