Three years ago I was on the cusp of graduating with nowhere to go. I had turned down the invaluable opportunity of documenting the Special Olympics in China with Professor Rich Beckman because my parents urged me to find a paying job. At the time, the only social network I used was Facebook and I never read blogs (nor did I know what a RSS reader was). Yes, I am totally calling myself out right now, but I am doing it to honor The Poynter Institute and to recognize them for their invaluable summer fellowship. I was a 2007 fellow, and despite the chance of sounding overly dramatic, it truly changed my life.
McKenna emailed me noting that the inspiration to build this site came from the need to provide this opportunity to all deserving applicants, regardless of their financial state. “It’s around $2,000 for the fellowship, plus transportation and housing, which makes it tough for students to afford,” he said. “Our group is trying to raise some money for this year’s fellows.”
Interested donors can contribute directly on the Poynter’s donation page, and others can help by spreading the word about this site and their fundraising efforts.
Unfortunately, the deadline has already passed for 2010 applicants, so I hope everyone who was interested in this exceptional program was on top of it and got their application submitted on time!
The music in their promo video (shown below) is a little over-the-top for my personal taste, but the main take-away is there: young graduates are passionate, energetic, and willing to battle through the print turmoil to do what they love, which is to tell stories.
Poynter’s Mission Statement
The Poynter Institute is a school dedicated to teaching and inspiring journalists and media leaders. It promotes excellence and integrity in the practice of craft and in the practical leadership of successful businesses. It stands for a journalism that informs citizens and enlightens public discourse. It carries forward Nelson Poynter’s belief in the value of independent journalism in the public interest.