Leadership program prepares students to navigate ever-changing media landscape

Recognizing the need for aspiring leaders in the news media, Grady College's James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership has joined with the Poynter Institute to offer a leadership certificate program for the second year.

Twelve students were selected based on a demonstrated commitment to their professional development through work in student media, internships and other student activities. They are Hilary Butschek, Chris Conley, Aashka Dave, Hayden Field, Nicholas Fouriezos, Jeanette Kazmierczak, Kathleen LaPorte, Cailin O'Brien, Brittini Ray, Meredith Thornhill, Nicholas Watson and Whitney Wyszynski.

“The news industry is changing, but this program emphasizes that change can be positive,” said Keith Herndon, a visiting journalism professor at the Grady College, who is directing the program. “We introduce the students to transformative leadership principles and explain how they can emerge as change agents in an industry seeking direction. They need to know that many in the news media are receptive to entrepreneurial thinking and are experimenting with new business models to support new forms of storytelling.”

Students complete 12 lessons over an eight-week period, including six online modules offered by Poynter, a premier journalism training organization based in Florida, four live workshops taught by Herndon, and two sessions taught by guest lecturers, Richard McCline, senior fellow at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at UGA, and Kelly McBride of Poynter.

“I am honored that Poynter can be part of this innovative leadership program,” said Vicki Krueger, director of interactive learning at Poynter. “It is exciting to see how our courses can be used to help shape the next generation of media leaders.”

Hilary Butschek, a senior majoring in public affairs journalism and French from Cumming, Ga., believes taking time to learn about effective leadership tactics will help her succeed in any position.

“I think this is a perfect time to take charge in the journalism field and be a creative, active and inspiring leader to keep the core of journalism alive in this changing world,” she said.

Whitney Wyszynski, a senior majoring in public affairs journalism and political science from Sautee Nacoochee, Ga., sees the program as relevant to her career goals.

“There is no doubt that the journalism industry is changing,” she said, “and if we hope to serve in the field someday, I think we owe it to ourselves, to our school and to our community to discuss how to lead in the 21st century.”

The Cox Poynter Leaders will receive their certificates in media leadership from Poynter during a spring media leadership banquet on March 6. The keynote speaker will be Mizell Stewart III, vice president of content for Scripps Newspapers. Krueger will present the awards.

About the Cox Institute
The James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership at the Grady College prepares students and professionals for leadership roles in the news media. By sponsoring intensive training programs and funding applied research, the Cox Institute is at the forefront of addressing the strategic challenges faced by contemporary news organizations. The Cox Institute was established in 1990 by the late Conrad Fink, a legendary journalism professor in the Grady College. It is named for the late James M. Cox Jr., who headed Cox Enterprises and Cox Broadcasting Corporation from 1957 until 1974. Kent Middleton, professor of journalism, is the director of the Cox Institute and Cecil Bentley serves as assistant director.

About the Poynter Institute
The Poynter Institute is dedicated to teaching and inspiring journalists and media leaders. It promotes excellence and integrity in the practice of craft and in the practical leadership of successful businesses. It stands for a journalism that informs citizens and enlightens public discourse. It carries forward Nelson Poynter's belief in the value of independent journalism in the public interest. Poynter's News University is one of the world's most innovative online journalism and media training programs with more than 300 free and low-cost courses. As the e-learning project of the Poynter Institute, News University extends Poynter's mission as a school for journalists, future journalists, teachers of journalism and anyone interested in the craft and values of journalism. News University currently has more than 250,000 registered users.

Date: March 4, 2014
Author:  Stephanie Moreno, s.moreno@uga.edu
Contact:  Keith Herndon,  klhern@uga.edu