St. Petersburg Police Reaffirm Support for Poynter Institute's Write Field Program

Police chief emphasizes key role of Poynter program in community

Jan 04, 2016, 15:13 ET from The Poynter Institute

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Jan. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- St. Petersburg Police Chief Tony Holloway reaffirmed the department's support of the Poynter Institute's dynamic Write Field initiative in a meeting today with recently named director Dr. Christopher Warren and Poynter President Tim Franklin.

"This is a great program to help the next generation of young men," Holloway said during a presentation to commemorate the department's financial support of the Write Field, now in its fifth year at Poynter.

The St. Petersburg Police Department has provided $3,000 in financial support for the 2015-2016 Write Field program. In addition, members of the St. Petersburg Police Department serve as mentors in the initiative.

"It says a lot that the police are willing to be part of the solution, supporting the children and families in the south side of St. Petersburg," said Dr. Warren, who was named director late last year and previously was a Write Field mentor. Dr. Warren also directs a National Institutes of Health-funded resource and referral program supporting African-American families at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

The Write Field is an engaging mentoring program designed to improve the academic performance and life skills of selected middle school boys. The initiative strives to make a difference through academic enrichment and mentoring by law enforcement, business and community leaders.

"Poynter is very grateful for the continued support of the St. Petersburg Police Department and Chief Holloway for the Write Field program," Franklin said. "This is a program that is making a huge difference in the lives of young minority men in our community, helping to strengthen their academic performance and giving them life skills that are invaluable. The Write Field has had a big impact on the lives of scores of young men the past several years, and Poynter is committed to continuing the work of this valuable program. We look forward to continuing to work with Chief Holloway and all of our other community partners to help these young men."  

The program is serving 42 boys during the 2015/16 academic year. In addition to funding by the St. Petersburg Police Department, the Write Field has received grants and generous individual contributions, with major partnerships with the City of St. Petersburg, Wells Fargo, Pinellas County Schools, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the Mahaffey Theater and the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Write Field program was featured nationally on PBS and recognized by then-U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in 2014 for its work in helping to reduce the dropout rate, especially among students of color.

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,, offers the world's largest online journalism curriculum in 7 languages, with more than 400 interactive courses and 330,000 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 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.

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