Koch Associate Program

The Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship program welcomes new cohort

August 7, 2020

The yearlong career accelerator program accepts 57 emerging journalists for its second year 

Late last week dozens of journalists from newsrooms around the country got together online to discuss best practices in covering racial injustice protests with practiced reporters from the Associated Press, Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Chicago’s WBEZ radio station. Topics ranged from providing balance and context in coverage to combatting bias in newsroom hiring, but all were relevant to reporting challenges that extend well beyond those involved in the video session. 

That’s the case with other weekly workshops offered throughout the year-long Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship program. The robust discussions explore foundational principles of the press as well as real-world, evolving issues on covering COVID-19, natural disasters, as well as early career development issues. 

The 57 participants of last week’s call make up the new cohort of reporters, visual journalists, designers, and opinion writers with outlets including national papers like the Miami Herald and New York Daily News, regional outlets like St. Louis Public Radio and Kansas City Star, news magazines like National Review, and niche community papers like the Nevada Independent and Noozhawk. The rich mix of participating outlets and fellows is one of the benefits of the program. As Poynter faculty Samantha Ragland in Poynter’s announcement says: 

The fellowship is a true career accelerator with real-world application, rigorous weekly workshops, advisory groups, one-on-one mentoring and communal events. But my mission is to help fellows find their people — a diverse learning community of passionate journalists that supports and challenges each member for the rest of their careers. Connection is how we foster innovation.

Ragland works alongside senior manager of media programs for the Charles Koch Institute, Tim McCaughan, a 25-year newsroom veteran.

“The role of a free press in a liberal democracy and an open society cannot be overstated,” McCaughan said. “The fellows in this program represent the future for a struggling industry at an uncertain time and give optimism for a future as strong and vibrant as its proud legacy.” 

Fellows will choose from dozens of mentors for biweekly, one-on-one coaching that starts this fall. The midyear summit is set to take place in December, and the program’s closing summit will be held in spring 2021. Explore stories about its faculty and learn more about the program here.