Poynter, ONA Announce First Class of 25 Promising Female Media Leaders for the ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 10, 2015 — (PRNewswire) —  The Online News Association (ONA) and The Poynter Institute are pleased to announce the premiere class of 25 women leaders selected for the tuition-free ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media.

The Poynter Institute Logo.

The participants were chosen from a pool of just under 500 applicants, screened for potential, need and diversity across ethnicity, age, geography, technology platforms and skill sets.

"This was an amazing and intense process," said Kelly McBride, Poynter's Vice President of Academic Programs. "Amazing because we discovered so many journalists doing incredible work. Intense, because there were so many well-qualified women craving leadership training. We knew there was demand for this, but now we see how significant that demand is."  

Members of the first Academy are:

  • Masuma Ahuja, National Digital Editor, The Washington Post
  • Kainaz Amaria, Supervising Editor, NPR Visuals, NPR
  • Heather Battaglia, Software Engineer, Northwestern University Knight Lab
  • Libby Bawcombe, Digital Design Director, The Atlantic
  • Kristina Budelis, Multimedia Producer and Freelancer
  • Megan Chan, Director of Digital Product, Politico
  • Kari Cobham, Social Media Digital Analyst, Cox Media Group
  • Meghann Farnsworth, Director of Distribution/Engagement, The Center for Investigative Reporting
  • Melisa Goh, Senior Home Page Editor, CNN, cnn.com
  • Geneen Harston, Director of World/National News, Rivet News Radio
  • Imaeyen Ibanga, Video Producer, NBC News
  • Meagan Kelleher, Director of Digital Content, Tribune Broadcasting
  • Christina Kline, Deputy Mobile Editor, The Wall Street Journal
  • Amanda Krauss, Director of Technology, The Texas Tribune
  • Sarah Marshall, Social Media Editor EMEA, The Wall Street Journal
  • Rebekah Monson, Co-Founder, WhereBy.Us / The New Tropic
  • Holly Moore, Managing Editor, USA TODAY
  • Nuria Net, Editor, Emerging Arts & Special Projects, Fusion
  • Tracie Powell, Founder, All Digitocracy
  • Shadi Rahimi, Deputy Producer, Al Jazeera/AJ+
  • Mariana Santos, Director of Interactive and Animation, Fusion
  • Ruth Spencer, Managing Editor, Guardian US
  • Almudena Toral, Visual Journalist, incoming, Univision
  • Elite Truong, Support Manager, Vox Media
  • Mandy Velez, Lead Editor, A+ (aplus.com)

"We congratulate the talented women who will make up and contribute to this incredible first cohort," said Jane McDonnell, ONA Executive Director. "Because of the quality of the applicants, we're already planning another session that will focus on promising emerging leaders and their specific needs."

The groundbreaking, tuition-free seminar held April 12-17 at Poynter's campus in St. Petersburg, Florida, will help women gain and polish the skills and knowledge needed to rise to the highest levels of media leadership. The classes will be structured to encourage open, candid discussion and networking, and participants will walk away with not only strong skills, but a built-in support system for the future.

Sessions will be led by prominent women leaders in the startup, tech, media and academic fields, and faculty will include S. Mitra Kalita, current Executive Editor (at large) for Quartz and Adjunct Faculty at Poynter; Liz Heron, Facebook's Manager of News Partnerships; LaToya Drake, Marketing Manager/Media Outreach for Google and Kelly McBride, Poynter's Vice President of Academic Programs.

Recognizing the need to continue this training, The McClatchy Company Foundation will provide funding for up to three additional Leadership Academies for Women in Digital Journalism. Poynter and the Online News Association will jointly host the second academy in the spring of 2016.

McClatchy's ongoing commitment to leadership training for women in journalism is being made in honor of Heather Fagundes, who was passionate about both digital journalism and the careers of women. As the vice president for human resources at The McClatchy Company, Fagundes was a champion for diversity throughout the news organization. A 22-year McClatchy employee, Fagundes died from cancer last December at the age 45. In her honor, Thursday night's closing gathering at the Leadership Academy for Women will be named the Heather Fagundes Memorial Dinner.

"We're pleased to support this important initiative to further the careers and opportunities for women in digital journalism. We are especially proud to do so on behalf of our former colleague Heather Fagundes, who represented the very best of our company, and played such an important leadership role in building our company," said McClatchy President and CEO Pat Talamantes.

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, www.newsu.org, offers the world's largest online journalism curriculum in 7 languages, with more than 400 interactive courses and 300,000 registered users in more than 200 countries. The Institute's website, www.poynter.org, 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.

About the Online News Association
The Online News Association is the world's largest association of digital journalists. ONA's mission is to inspire innovation and excellence among journalists to better serve the public. Membership includes journalists, technologists, executives, academics and students who produce news for and support digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.

Media contact: Kim Tobin, 1-727-553-4707, Email Contact.

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