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The Poynter Institute and NABJ announce the 2017 class for the Poynter-NABJ Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media

The Poynter Institute and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) are pleased to announce the 2017 class for the Poynter-NABJ Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media, a transformational leadership program for journalists of color.

The 25 participants, chosen from a pool of more than 200 applicants, are emerging leaders in digital media who have demonstrated an aptitude for leadership through current projects and references. The academy will include guidance on navigating newsroom culture, leadership styles, the business of journalism and entrepreneurship, as well as networking and one-on-one coaching.

Tuition to this program is free for selected applicants thanks to the generous support of the TEGNA Foundation, The New York Times and the Scripps Howard Foundation.

“We’re honored to bring talented journalists together for this important initiative,” said Poynter president Neil Brown. “Poynter has a long history of teaching best practices in media management, and this program allows us to partner with the NABJ to ensure diversity as one of journalism’s highest leadership values.”

“There are several reasons to celebrate the 2017 Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media class,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover.  “In addition to a stellar group of participants who will receive instruction and guidance from some of the best in the digital media world, our partnership with Poynter is one that produces quality programming. And, when you have financial support from the TEGNA Foundation, The New York Times and the Scripps Howard Foundation, the results will be a positive impact on our industry.”

This year’s class includes:

Cara Ball, digital manager and video reporter, The Kokomo Tribune
Danielle Cadet, senior editor, ESPN’s The Undefeated
Stan Chambers, digital executive producer, WTSP-TV
Indu Chandrasekhar, director of audience development, Wired
Citlalli Chavez, communications director, UCLA Labor Center
Kara Edgerson, senior editor, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Aurora Ellis, editor, Huffington Post
Tanita Gaither, digital content manager, WIS-TV
Ken-Yon Hardy, digital video manager, Stars and Stripes
Jo Herrera, digital content coordinator, Southwest News Media
Jocelina Joiner, manager, news and content, Lakana
John Ketchum, deputy editor, Vox Media/SB Nation
Marshall Latimore, editor-in-chief, The Atlanta Voice
Cristina Ledra, senior rewrite editor,
Shauntel Lowe, senior staff editor sports, The New York Times
Delano Massey, Ohio news editor, The Associated Press
Nicki Mayo, digital editor, Philadelphia Tribune/
Alexi McCammond, deputy news editor, Axios
Quindelda McElroy, director, engagement & optimization, Cox Media Group
Christopher Nelson, coordinating producer, MSNBC
Juana Summers, senior writer, CNN Politics
Marcus Vanderberg, senior editor, Yahoo! Sports
Adrienne Varkiani, senior editor, ThinkProgress
Connie Wang, senior features writer, Refinery29
Mandi Woodruff, executive editor, MagnifyMoney/LendingTree

Participants will spend Dec. 3-8 at The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida. The week will be led by prominent leaders in the news, technology and media fields, including Kevin Merida, editor of ESPN’s The Undefeated, LaToya Drake, founding member of the Google News Lab; Russ Torres, vice president of video content strategy for the USA TODAY Network; Rashida Jones, senior vice president/specials for NBC News and MSNBC; and Mizell Stewart III, vice president of news operations for the USA TODAY Network and immediate past president of the American Society of News Editors. Other faculty include Poynter’s Butch Ward, Katie Hawkins-Gaar, Kelly McBride and Ren LaForme.

The Poynter-NABJ program builds upon the dynamic Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media, which has offered training to the best and the brightest women in digital media in the last three years. Applications are now open for the 2018 class.

About The National Association of Black Journalists
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide. For additional information, please visit

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, Florida, and at conferences and organizations around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum in 7 languages, with 300 interactive courses and 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 journalists, and to build public awareness about journalism that serves democracy and the public good.


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