Poynter President Karen Dunlap Announces Retirement

Oct 29, 2013, 11:18 ET from The Poynter Institute

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Oct. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Poynter Institute's President, Dr. Karen B. Dunlap, has announced that she will retire. After a decade of leading the Institute in new paths as president, and nine years as dean, Dunlap, 62, said she will leave her post in January.

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"It is a good time for me and for the Institute," Dunlap said. "We have expanded our reach to engage citizens, technology innovators, and those in legacy media on matters of journalism practices and values. We help leaders negotiate seismic news media changes and we've stayed on mission in the midst of our own transformation. We have raised our profile as a global leader in promoting excellent journalism."

Paul Tash, chairman and CEO of the Tampa Bay Times and chairman of Poynter's Board of Trustees, praised Dunlap's service and said the trustees would soon begin the selection of her successor.

"Karen deserves a thunderous round of applause from the Poynter Institute, and from journalists far and wide," said Tash. "Building on her superb work, the next president will have the chance to play an enormously important role both at Poynter and in the world of journalism."

Nelson Poynter founded the Institute 38 years ago and placed it in ownership of his newspaper, now the Tampa Bay Times. His was a creative step to assure independent ownership of the news organization and to provide ongoing education for working journalists. The Institute maintains the spirit of innovation through journalism in its array of in-person and digital programs.

As news and advertising shifted to digital platforms, Poynter added to its industry-leading site, Poynter.org, and the array of courses on NewsU.org, the groundbreaking electronic teaching platform founded with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Dunlap introduced development efforts at Poynter with individual and corporate support, as well as grants from the Knight, McCormick, Ford, and MacArthur foundations, among others. The Institute formed the Poynter Foundation last year to further garner support.

"As the Foundation moves forward with its work, we will continue to grow the initiatives, visions and support to ensure Poynter's growth, influence and leadership in this exciting new era for journalism," said Chris Martin, Poynter Foundation president. "Karen's dedication to Poynter as a teacher, a dean, a role model and a leader has helped to build and maintain the Institute's strong reputation and to grow its wide circle of influence."

In 2005 Dunlap invited New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger to an evening at Poynter for questions from the public.

He came; so did the public and Community Conversations followed. Over the years guests included Tom Brokaw, Gwen Ifill, Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Bob Woodward, Soledad O'Brien, Cokie Roberts and Dave Barry. The Institute offers other programs for the public, some with news organizations in Washington, D.C. and Seattle. The underlying message in all is that journalism is critical to a healthy democracy.

"That message is even more important today," Dunlap said.

During the last decade the Institute began taking its courses and workshops to news organizations and other businesses in custom programs. International efforts include regular attendees from Scandinavia, long-term programs in South Africa, and new projects in India. Eye-tracking and tablet research provide new understanding of user behavior. Courses in leadership, journalism skills and digital tools continue to draw participants to St. Petersburg, as do major convenings such as one on The Future of News Audiences scheduled for January.

While reaching out to the world, Poynter continues elementary, middle school and high school programs for its region. Three years ago Dunlap met with owners of the Tampa Bay Rays and created The Write Field to address the high dropout rate of African-American and Latino middle school boys in St. Petersburg. Community involvement and support allow boys to improve writing skills and character. Using what it has learned, the Institute is exploring a digital curriculum to assist other Florida communities in similar programs.

"Life has been busy," Dunlap said. In retirement she plans to keep working on educational achievement of children and teens, including her 12 grandchildren. She expects to write, engage in some university teaching and consult.

"I'm very proud of Poynter's achievements," she said, "and expect great things ahead."

About The Poynter Institute
The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is an international leader in journalism education, and a thought leader 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, with more than 250 interactive courses and 240,000 students. 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.


Karen B. Dunlap
The Poynter Institute

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The Poynter Institute

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