Poynter Producer Project (Fall 2018)

Course Overview

Poynter Producer Project (Fall 2018)
Online Group Seminar
Time Estimate:
Each week of the online course will take about four hours, including weekly live discussions and one-on-one coaching sessions. You'll also come to Poynter on September 7 to 9 for a weekend of in-person coaching and feedback.

Tuition covers the online and in-person learning. (Note that travel and hotel are not included in the seminar tuition.) Poynter Prepared members can save 20-25% on this course and all Poynter training. Learn more and join now.

About Online Group Seminars

In an online group seminar, you will gather with other participants in a virtual space, logging in from anywhere, day or night, over the course of several weeks. A faculty member guides the group through new material, moderates discussions and provides individual feedback.

We will offer this online group seminar on the following dates in 2018:
August 17 to September 28, 2018
Applications are due by: August 15, 2018

Making stories work involves more than just teases and live shots. This unique seminar will help you expand your expertise as a TV producer with new writing, storytelling, coaching and ethical decision-making skills.

We're combining the best of online learning with in-person coaching and mentoring to help you tell stronger stories and make those tough calls on deadline.

In the online portion of this seminar, Poynter's Al Tompkins will guide you through weekly readings, activities and live group discussions. You'll also come to Poynter on September 7-9 for a weekend of in-person coaching and feedback.

Throughout this course, you'll gain practical and creative ideas to share with your colleagues and a new energy to bring to your work.

During each week of the online portion of the course, you'll join live discussions, and Al will have office hours to discuss your work one-on-one. Can't attend the live sessions? We'll make replays available of all the live events.

Sept. 7-9, you'll come to Poynter for a weekend of coaching, where you'll meet your online classmates and instructors and learn from one another. (You are responsible for the travel arrangements and costs. The tuition does not cover those costs)

Live Open House: Monday, August. 20 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern

Part 1: Online, August 21, 1:30 p.m. EST Finding focus, story shapes and optimizing your storytelling

Part 2: Online August 28, 1:30 p.m. EST
The Eight BIG motivators that will make every story in the newscast more interesting. It will shape your tease writing and help your newscasts get beyond the simple “what happened” to the much more important question of “so what?”

Part 3: At Poynter, September 7, 8, 9

  • Learn what every producer needs to know about tease writing and active writing.

  • You will learn how to manage ethical pressures even while you are on a tight deadline and no manager is around.

  • You will get 360-degree feedback from your newsroom.

  • Learn what great producers need to stand out from the pack.

  • We will teach you the skills of online and social media writing.

NOTE: You are responsible for the travel arrangements and costs. The tuition does not cover those costs.

Part 4: Online, September 18, 1: 30 p.m. EST

Feedback on your teases. This is a two-hour session online where every producer will submit samples of their work and the group will give live feedback.

Part 5: Online, September 25, 1:30 p.m. EST Developing a career path, exploring ratings and uncovering new income opportunities. For many producers it is the first real look inside the business of their business.

What Will I Learn:
  • How to find stories that others miss
  • How to find a focus for your story
  • A framework for making ethical decisions on deadline
  • How to write clear, clean copy
  • Techniques for managing peers, managers and subordinates
Who should take this course:

Producers at any stage in their career, including associate and newscast producers as well as executive producers.

Course Instructors:

Al Tompkins

Al Tompkins is Senior Faculty/Broadcast and Online at The Poynter Institute. He is the author of Aim for the Heart: A Guide for TV Producers and Reporters, which is being used by more than 130 universities' journalism departments around the world., and the Poynter NewsU course Reporting, Writing for TV and the Web: Aim for the Heart. He is also the author of Telling Memorable Video Stories, a video tutorial series at Poynter's NewsU. You can join the more than 10,000 people who follow him on Twitter at @atompkins.

Tompkins has more than 40 years of experience as a journalist, writer and journalism teacher who teaches in seminars at Poynter and workshops and conferences around. He has been a presenter at national conventions for IRE, RTDNA, NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA, Unity, NLGJA, PRNDI and NPPA. Since 1998, he has taught seminars and workshops in 48 states and four countries.

Lana Durban Scott

Lana Durban Scott is the senior director of news strategy and operations for The E.W. Scripps Company’s television station group. She manages a system of shared resources and best practices across the company’s thirteen television stations with the goal of producing quality journalism across all platforms. Lana worked at WEWS, a Scripps station in Cleveland, for 15 years prior to joining the Scripps corporate team.

Training Partner:

The Scripps Howard Foundation

The Scripps Howard Foundation is the corporate foundation of The E. W. Scripps Company. Our mission is to advance the cause of a free press through support of excellence in journalism, quality journalism education and professional development. The Foundation helps build healthy communities and improve the quality of life through support of sound educational programs, strong families, vital social services, enriching arts and culture, and inclusive civic affairs, with a special commitment to the communities in which Scripps does business.