Power of Diverse Voices: Writing Workshop for Journalists of Color (2024)

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Power of Diverse Voices: Writing Workshop for Journalists of Color (2024)

With the support of expert instructors and fellow journalists of color, develop the confidence and skills to share your unique perspective in persuasive writing.

November 12, 2024– November 15, 2024

Overview

  • Visit Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg, Florida, for four days of intensive, transformational learning.
  • Deeply connect with and be inspired by your cohort of fellow journalists of color.
  • Practice new techniques during dedicated writing sessions.
  • Get feedback during small group coaching sessions.
  • The training is free to accepted participants. Travel costs are not covered by Poynter.
  • Sessions are Nov. 12-15.
  • The deadline to apply is Sept. 6.

$0.00

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Learning Outcomes

In this course, you will:

  • Develop and hone your arguments, presenting these arguments effectively and persuasively.
  • Support your arguments using solid research and reporting.
  • Strengthen your reporting skills with an emphasis on fairness and accuracy.
  • Maximize your journalistic success on digital and social media platforms.
  • Generate strong ideas for your opinion pieces, broadening your access to diverse points of view.
  • Focus your ideas, developing a compelling pitch to editors.

$0.00

Apply Now

Overview

  • Visit Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg, Florida, for four days of intensive, transformational learning.
  • Deeply connect with and be inspired by your cohort of fellow journalists of color.
  • Practice new techniques during dedicated writing sessions.
  • Get feedback during small group coaching sessions.
  • The training is free to accepted participants. Travel costs are not covered by Poynter.
  • Sessions are Nov. 12-15.
  • The deadline to apply is Sept. 6.

Training five or more people?
Check out our custom training.

The Power of Diverse Voices is a transformative, four-day seminar that helps journalists of color find their voices and build skills for writing opinion pieces and personal essays.

With the support of expert instructors and fellow journalists of color, you’ll develop the confidence and skills to share your unique perspective in persuasive writing. You will learn both through instruction as well as intensive coaching in small writing groups. You will focus on fact-based opinion writing — and using social media to spark a conversation — across platforms.

The seminar is led by Tom Huang, a senior editor at The Dallas Morning News who has been a champion of diverse storytellers for 35 years and who has taught at Poynter for 20 of those years. 

This in-person, immersive experience will foster the diversity of voices necessary in the profession and train the next generation of opinion writers from a wide spectrum of backgrounds. Additionally, it will explore how opinion writing plays a vital role in explanatory, features and watchdog journalism, and is important in a thriving democracy.

“Before this program, I doubted how my unconventional path and story could make me a stronger journalist. In fact, I hesitated to even call myself a ‘journalist’ due to my perceived lack of experience. This all changed the minute I stepped into the first workshop. In three days, strangers became friends, confidants and supporters. There is power in uniting people who are usually overlooked in traditional newsrooms. Being in the same room with journalists of color, looking people in the eye and finding camaraderie not only boosted morale but also affirmed the power we hold with our personal experiences, our stories and the way in which we navigate the world. This workshop encouraged me to wholeheartedly own my identity, embrace the power in our stories and to leverage what I know to be a better person as well as journalist.” — Vicky Diaz-Camacho, multiplatform producer, WHYY News, Philadelphia

Accepted applicants will join an active and successful alumni group. Their work has appeared in online publications, like about her white friend’s silence after the 2021 Atlanta shootings, and about loneliness; on podcasts such as series by Rebecca Nagle; and in national outlets such as Iris Kuo’s column in The Atlantic on , Russell Contreras’s story for the Associated Press about his family , and María Inés Zamudio’s on suicide in the Mexican community.

Many award-winning works originated or developed during this workshop. Harry Mok, assistant opinion editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and a graduate of Poynter’s 2021 workshop, earned AAJA’s Excellence in Commentary for his .” Ismael Pérez, another 2021 alum and Chicago Sun-Times editorial board member, won first place in the Society of Features Journalism General Commentary Portfolio category for his column

More than 90% of previous participants rated their experience as “exceptional,” like Alejandra Salazar, story editor with the TED Audio Collective and a graduate of the 2018 workshop:

“In the never-ending shuffle, it becomes all too easy to conform to a norm that often excludes the voices of women, of people of color, of LGBTQ+ communities, of minorities — voices like my own. But my weekend at Poynter was a vital, affirming experience that reminded me of the power of storytelling, and of the importance of diversity within that storytelling. The skills, connections, support and confidence I gained in this program truly made it one of the most important and formative experiences in my career.”

Here’s what other attendees have said about the program:

“Spending a few days in a room where minorities are the majority truly changed my life “I felt so empowered by the traits and experiences that the world or the industry often considers faulty. Throughout the weekend, I was able to, for the first time, spend more time working on crafting fresh takes and nuanced opinions, and less time explaining why I’m pitching the ideas in the first place.” — Ashley Lee, 2018 alum and staff reporter at the Los Angeles Times

“One of the best things about this workshop is the balance of being both nurtured and challenged. My workshop experiences definitely challenged me to more carefully consider whose voices I’m centering in my stories. It also taught me the universality of our experiences and the real human connection that can happen when you’re not afraid to be exactly who you are.” — Elizabeth Myong, 2021 alum and Arts Access reporter/producer with KERA and The Dallas Morning News

“I came into this cohort convinced that my sole purpose as a journalist was to document how others navigated the world, but learned from my session leaders and peers … that my story might help others to heal. By sharing it with the world, I found a deeper connection to my science reporting and started to heal parts of myself that I’d believed were already resolved. More than ‘career advancement,’ Power of Diverse Voices provided me the development and support that I didn’t know I needed. — Juan Michael Porter II, 2021 alum and senior editor of TheBody.com

History and funding

The Power of Diverse Voices workshop grew out of a collaboration between the Association of Opinion Journalists and The Poynter Institute. The original writing workshop for journalists of color ran for nearly two decades at Vanderbilt University before coming to Poynter in 2015. The curriculum was revamped in 2016 under lead faculty Tom Huang.

Funding for Power of Diverse Voices comes from an endowment that was established by the  Association of Opinion Journalists, an organization that eventually . Since neither organization is in operation any longer, Poynter manages the endowment to ensure the continuation of the program.

Questions?

If you need assistance, email us at info@poynter.org.

This seminar will take place Tuesday, Nov. 12, through Friday, Nov. 15, at Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Live teaching sessions, small group workshops and writing time will take up a large portion of each day.

Sessions will begin promptly at 1 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12. Participants should expect a half day of programming on Tuesday and two full days of programming on Wednesday and Thursday, with the program concluding around 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15. In order to focus and get the greatest benefit from the seminar, participants will be asked to commit their full attention to the seminar and take time off work.

A more detailed schedule will be posted soon.

Who should apply

Enrollment is open to new- and mid-career journalists of color based in the United States looking to add effective opinion writing to their tool kit, as well as those building a career path toward opinion journalism. Journalism students, journalism educators, freelancers and opinion journalists who work online or in social media are also encouraged to apply.

Application process

The process to apply is straightforward and simple. No letter of recommendation or reference is required. Please be prepared to answer questions about your professional experience, areas of interest and basic demographic information.
Participants are selected by a committee with an emphasis on ensuring diversity across race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, geography, religion, technology platforms, organization size and skill sets.

Participants (or their employers) are responsible for travel costs.

The deadline to apply is Sept. 6.

Instructors

  • Tom Huang
    Assistant Managing Editor for Journalism Initiatives, The Dallas Morning News
    Tom Huang is Assistant Managing Editor for Journalism Initiatives at The Dallas Morning News, where he oversees Sunday Page One, edits in-depth enterprise stories, handles...
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  • Fernanda Santos
    Managing Editor, The 19th News
    Fernanda Santos is managing editor at The 19th News. She has focused her journalism on elevating the stories of underrepresented and misrepresented communities since immigrating...
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  • Aisha Sultan
    Home and Family Editor and Columnist, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    Aisha Sultan is a nationally syndicated columnist and features writer. Her work connects with parents trying to balance work and home life, while raising kids...
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  • Eric Deggans
    TV Critic, NPR
    Eric Deggans is NPR’s first full-time TV critic, also serving as media analyst and guest host, appearing on all the network’s shows, including “Morning Edition,”...
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