Here are 17 management and executive leadership programs for journalists

We asked you for recommendations on Twitter. Here’s what you shared.

Nick Kozankywycz
May 16 · 7 min read

This article is by Cheryl Thompson-Morton and Nicholas Kozankywycz

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

Journalism is a fascinating industry.

News organizations are grappling not only with the long-standing challenge of telling stories that resonate with their communities, but they now also have to create digital strategies and business plans that help support their work. We are both relatively new to journalism, and the speed of change in the industry has been striking. Because of their financial challenges, talent development has taken a backseat to other priorities for many outlets. This makes it hard for entry and mid-level newsroom staffers to gain the skills necessary to advance their careers. This roadblock is especially prevalent for journalists of color who are underrepresented, especially in positions of leadership in news organizations.

There’s clearly a need for talent development, and as the Programs Analyst for the Lenfest Institute, Cheryl had some ideas about how we can start to fill that gap.

But in order to assess how the Institute can best help, she needed more information about existing training programs. Cheryl asked her colleague and friend, Joseph Lichterman, about the trainings he knew of and then had the idea to take that question to Twitter.

The responses were overwhelming as were the requests to make a list compiling all of the feedback, so here it is. We hope that this list will arm you with the knowledge to make the best decisions for your career, in service of journalism and democracy. And we’ll share more details about our plan to support this work as they progress.

We will also continue to update this list with new additions.

*Note: These programs all vary in length. Be sure to pay attention to program dates and times.


The Cox Institute at UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication

“The James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership at the Grady College prepares students and professionals for leadership roles in the news media. By sponsoring intensive training programs and funding applied research, the Cox Institute is at the forefront of addressing the strategic challenges faced by contemporary news organizations.”


The Media Transformation Challenge at Harvard’s Kennedy School

“The Media Transformation Challenge: Leadership in the Tech-Driven World of Journalism is a new executive program created in collaboration with Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Led by Faculty Chair Nicco Mele together with program founder and architect Douglas K. Smith, this unique program will require you to determine a core business challenge threatening the sustainability and profitability of your enterprise. Our faculty team will personally coach and consult with you throughout the year to foster the skills you need to develop new strategies and drive long-lasting, repeatable success at your organization.”


50 Women Can

“50 Women Can Change The World in Media & Entertainment is building a community of ambitious women committed to gender parity in Hollywood. This is a four-month, game-changing leadership and movement-building program that supports women in redefining power and creating a new blueprint for the industry.”


SRCCON , July 11–12 in Minneapolis, MN

“SRCCON (a contraction of “Source con”) is a highly participatory and extraordinarily inclusive conference where participants come first so they can focus on collaborating on the work at hand: transforming the way journalism works for them, their colleagues, and their communities. About 1/3 of attendees are also session facilitators, leading conversations and collaborative workshops focused on the practical challenges that news technology and data teams encounter every day.”


News Leaders Association Conference, September 9–10 in New Orleans, LA

“This year’s conference will focus on two main topics: Leadership and Audience Engagement/Growing Digital Revenue.

With a variety of sessions on different topics for all in the journalism industry, our 2019 conference is the place to be this fall! Not only is our conference jam-packed with valuable content and amazing speakers, but it is also in one of the most incredible spots around: New Orleans! Plan to spend two full days this fall in a city filled with festive spirit, renowned for vibrant live music, spicy cuisine and round-the-clock nightlife.”


Corporation for Public Broadcasting Editorial Integrity and Leadership Initiative

“The Editorial Integrity and Leadership Initiative trains 100 journalists over a two-year period, bringing public media’s most promising editors, news directors, program producers and reporters to the Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Participants work in small cohorts and receive one week of intensive learning and discussions, followed by three months of one-on-one coaching and online sessions. The initiative is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private nonprofit corporation that supports the operations of more than 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide.”

Applications reopen June 15, 2019.


Oxford Perspectives Series from the Reuters Institute (multiple programs)

“The Reuters Institute offers a range of professional leadership programmes as part of the Oxford Perspectives series. These are designed to give senior managers, journalists and editors insights into the latest research, new thinking, trends and best practice in organisational transformation. The programmes are delivered in small groups with fellow media practitioners and offer plenty of networking opportunities.”


Yale Publishing Course

“In 2017, Yale School of Management (SOM) welcomed the prestigious Yale Publishing Course (YPC) to Evans Hall for the first time. Together, SOM and YPC delivered a unique course for seasoned leaders in publishing to gather in an inspiring environment and gain critical insights in all facets of their industry. The partnership allowed for additional sessions taught by world-renowned Yale SOM faculty members. You can read more about the details of the launch of the collaboration here.”


The Executive Leadership Program from AAJA

“The Executive Leadership Program (ELP) is dedicated to developing the next generation of journalists who can lead in uncertain times and build a sustainable future for journalism. In today’s changing media landscape, it is vital that leaders are equipped for addressing the responsibilities and challenges of serving our increasingly diverse and cross-cultural world.”


Excellence in Journalism Conference, September 5–7, 2019 in San Antonio, TX

“Registration is open now for EIJ19. It will be bigger and better than ever with more workshops, more recruiters and more training for you and your team. Join SPJ, RTDNA, NAHJ and more than 1,000 of your closest journalism friends for the best training, networking and journalism fun. Don’t forget, early bird registration deadline is June 27, so register now to get the most bang for your buck.


PRNDI 2019 Conference, June 12–15, 2019 in Washington D.C.

“This year’s annual PRNDI Conference will be held at the downtown Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. As usual, the pre-conference training sessions will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, with the full conference kicking off with an opening reception on Thursday evening. We’ll end the conference with the annual awards banquet on Saturday evening.”


Essential Skills for Rising Newsroom Leaders, April 7–12, 2019 in St. Petersburg, FL

*This event has already passed, but we will update with future dates*

“You’ll receive personalized feedback — from your newsroom — about your strengths and challenges. You’ll get help for leading your staff through the transition of becoming digital-first. You’ll get customized advice for addressing your most pressing concerns with coaching from Poynter faculty, one-on-one.”


Yale School of Management’s Women’s Leadership Program, June 25–28, 2019; September 24–27, 2019 in New Haven, CT

“Implementation plans post-program extend the impact of an intensive in-person workshop. Yale faculty will lead a wide range of interactive and experiential learning sessions proven to enhance women’s leadership behaviors. Participants build awareness of decision-making biases, learn how to create high-performing teams, negotiate win-win outcomes, manage crises, drive innovation, and create an authentic leadership style.”


ONA’s Women’s Leadership Accelerator, February 10–15, 2019 in Los Angeles, CA; September 14, 2019 in New Orleans, LA

*Part of this event has already passed, but we will update with future dates*

“The Women’s Leadership Accelerator is a yearlong intensive program that supercharges the leadership and management skills of women who are pushing digital innovation. Each year we welcome a cohort of women representing a range of backgrounds, expertise and newsrooms around the globe.”


Poynter’s Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media, October 20–25, 2019 in St. Petersburg, FL

“This highly competitive and transformative program focuses on the skills and knowledge needed to rise to the highest levels of digital media leadership. Sessions will cover how to develop effective management styles, handle difficult conversations, manage burnout, master negotiation tactics and find newsroom allies. We will host three women’s academies in 2019, in Winter, Spring and Fall, each open to 30 participants.”


Columbia Journalism School’s Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program

“The Punch Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program puts business and the ‘business of news’ learnings firmly in the context of journalism, to improve strategies and leadership vision and execution. Under the supervision of Raju Narisetti, the program will relaunch with new faculty and a new program design in 2019. To be notified about program updates and to receive more information, please submit your contact information here.”


Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY

“The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY is launching a program to train the next generation of news executives to address the demand for innovation and leadership in the industry. The school has recruited Anita Zielina, an experienced journalist and media manager, to develop the program.

By next fall, the school expects to roll out several aspects of this new initiative, including weeklong immersive sessions and digital training, according to Sarah Bartlett, dean of the Newmark J-School. To learn more our upcoming leadership and innovation programs, please join our mailing list here.”

Please feel free to send us additional examples, and we can continue to update this list.

Lenfest Institute for Journalism

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is the first-of-its-kind non-profit organization whose sole mission is to develop and support sustainable business models for great local journalism.

Nick Kozankywycz

Written by

Lenfest Institute for Journalism

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is the first-of-its-kind non-profit organization whose sole mission is to develop and support sustainable business models for great local journalism.

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