Poynter Receives $400,000 Ford Foundation Grant as 'Sense-Making' Project Enters Third Year

Mar 14, 2011, 09:00 ET from The Poynter Institute

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Poynter Institute has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to continue the Sense-Making Project, an initiative designed to promote the public's participation in democracy by tracking, explaining and nurturing new developments in journalism.

In its first two years, the Sense-Making Project trained dozens of non-traditional journalists and entrepreneurs, guided two small startups, documented trends in the Fifth Estate, and provided leadership and training for traditional journalism organizations in the midst of transformation.

"With the Ford Foundation's support, the Sense-Making Project has grown from a small program within Poynter's ethics department to a crucial component of the Institute's core curriculum, informing all that we do and teach," said Poynter President Karen B. Dunlap. "Through the Sense-Making work, Poynter has been able to influence new and veteran journalists to embrace the work of journalism in service of democracy."

Among the project's highlights in 2010 was the "Fact or Friction" conference, a day-long gathering at the Newseum in Washington D.C., at which more than 125 leaders and practitioners from the Fourth and Fifth Estates gathered to explore their common ground, differences and potential for working together.

This year, the Sense-Making Project will continue its focus on in-person training, developing online training options and disseminating findings to the widest possible audience.

Plans include:

  • Two in-person seminars, each hosting 16 to 20 participants, one specifically for entrepreneurs and one for bloggers and social organizers who work with underserved communities and attempt to hold those in positions of power accountable.
  • Two online group seminars, each hosting 16 to 20 participants, one for entrepreneurs and one for bloggers or social organizers who work with underserved communities.
  • A self-directed online course, designed for non-traditional journalists to learn best practices.
  • Daily updates on Poynter's website, www.poynter.org, that draw attention to best practices and harmful practices of the Fifth Estate.

"From the beginning of this initiative, Ford has shared Poynter's vision for helping citizens better understand how to make sense of the dizzying amount of news and information now available to all of us," said Kelly McBride, Poynter's ethics group leader and lead faculty for the Sense-Making programs. "In our first two years, we've learned much about the new journalism and met many non-traditional journalists who share the values we believe are essential to journalism excellence."

About The Poynter Institute

Poynter trains journalism practitioners, media leaders, educators and citizens in the areas of online and multimedia, leadership and management, reporting, writing and editing, TV and radio, ethics and diversity, journalism education and visual journalism. Poynter's News University (http://www.newsu.org) offers training to journalists, journalism students, teachers and the public through more than 200 interactive e-learning modules and other forms of training. It has more than 170,000 registered users in 225 countries. Poynter's Web site, (www.poynter.org) is the dominant provider of journalism news, with a focus on business analysis and the opportunities and implications of technology.

About the Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than half a century it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.


Kelly McBride, faculty, kmcbride@poynter.org

Jessica Sandler, marketing director, jsandler@poynter.org

Phone: 1-888-POYNTER (1-888-769-6837)

SOURCE The Poynter Institute