Industry Training Program Prepares Journalism Students for Media Leadership Roles

Industry Training Program Prepares Journalism Students for Media Leadership Roles

February 06, 2015
Keith Herndon,

The Grady College James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership has partnered with the Poynter Institute for a third year to offer a media leadership certificate that prepares top journalism students for leadership roles in a “digital first” era influenced by social media and an explosion in mobile platforms.

Thirteen students were selected based on a demonstrated commitment to their professional development through work in student media, internships and other student activities. They are Brenna Beech, Allie Blinder, Elizabeth Grimsley, Jordan James, Laura James, Jamari Jordan, Stephen Mays, Deegan Mundy, Kathryn Roberts, Kendall Trammell, Eli Watkins, Melanie Watson and Taylor West.

“We introduce journalism students to transformative leadership principles and explain how they can become change agents in an industry seeking new ideas,” said Keith Herndon, a visiting professor of journalism at the Grady College who is directing the program. “ They need to see how the news media is changing in ways that are creating opportunities for young leaders.”

Students complete 12 lessons over an eight-week period, including six live workshops at Grady and six online modules offered by Poynter's News University, Poynter’s highly successful e-learning platform.

“I am honored that Poynter can continue to be part of this innovative leadership program,” said Vicki Krueger, director of interactive learning at The Poynter Institute. “Our e-learning courses will help shape the next generation of media leaders.”

“The thing I've enjoyed most about my experience . . . is learning how to be a leader in the most personal sense – not necessarily in a newsroom or in an office, but in everyday experiences around anyone and everyone who follows my life,” said Melanie Watson, a senior magazine journalism major from Hampton, Georgia.  “Leadership isn't how you conduct yourself while you're on the clock, it's how you conduct yourself in the meantime.”

Brenna Beech, a senior majoring in magazine journalism from Conyers, Georgia, said the program is helping her to become a more well rounded leader, not only in the media field.

“By improving my leadership ability through this program, I believe that I will go into my future career more confident, willing to help others come together for a better final product and ready to take on adversities,” Beech said.

The Cox Poynter Leaders will receive their certificates in media leadership from Poynter during a spring media leadership banquet on March 3. The keynote speaker will be Mark Luckie, creative content manager for journalism at Twitter. 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.

About The Poynter Institute
The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education, and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and 21st century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., and at conferences and organizational sites around the world. Its e-learning division, News University,, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum in 7 languages, with more than 400 interactive courses and 325,000 registered users in more than 200 countries. The Institute’s website,, produces 24-hour coverage of news about media, ethics, technology, the business of news and the trends that currently define and redefine journalism news reporting. The world’s top journalists and media innovators come to Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcast producers, and to build public awareness about journalism, media, the First Amendment and protected discourse that serves democracy and the public good.