ESPN partners with Poynter

Journalism institute expands the traditional role of network's ombudsman

Originally Published: March 22, 2011
By ESPN.com staff

ESPN and The Poynter Institute have partnered for a new step in media transparency -- The Poynter Review Project -- in which a panel of Poynter faculty will review ESPN content across all platforms and publicly comment on ESPN's efforts. This will include monthly essays and additional timely responses as issues arise. The group also will address fan concerns during its 18-month tenure.

"The Poynter Institute's reputation in the field of journalism is unmatched, and we welcome the panel's scrutiny in this new format," said John A. Walsh, ESPN executive vice president and executive editor. "Our goal is to improve our content through increased accountability, transparency and timeliness. We believe The Review will take the traditional ombudsman role and advance it for the 21st-century media world."

Poynter President Karen B. Dunlap said, "This project with ESPN allows us to join with a major multimedia organization interested in the connection between values and quality news and information. For more than 35 years, Poynter has taught the skills and values on which journalism excellence is based. As media evolve, we have new opportunities to promote and learn from best practices across all platforms."

The Institute's role expands the tradition of ESPN ombudsman, most recently held by famed television producer Don Ohlmeyer. His 18-month term was preceded by Le Anne Schreiber, a former New York Times sports editor turned author, and George Solomon, former sports editor of The Washington Post.

Among Poynter's contributors are Kelly McBride, a writer, teacher and one of the country's leading voices on media ethics. She has been on the faculty of The Poynter Institute for eight years. She leads Poynter's Sense-Making Project, a Ford Foundation initiative that examines the transformation of journalism and the effects on democracy.

Regina McCombs, Poynter's faculty for multimedia and mobile, teaches digital skills in on-site and distance-learning programs. She was the senior producer for multimedia at StarTribune.com in Minneapolis-St. Paul before joining Poynter in 2008. Butch Ward is both managing director and a member of the Poynter faculty. A journalist for 27 years at The Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore News American, Ward held jobs throughout the newsroom, including managing editor at both newspapers. For Poynter, he coordinates the Institute's business departments and teaches leadership, management, editing, reporting and writing.

About The Poynter Institute

Founded in 1975 in St. Petersburg, Fla., The Poynter Institute is one of the nation's top schools for professional journalists and news media leaders as well as future journalists and journalism teachers. Poynter offers training throughout the year 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 offers journalism training to the public through more than 200 interactive modules and other forms of e-learning. It has more than 170,000 registered users in 225 countries. Poynter's website is the dominant provider of journalism news with a focus on business analysis and the opportunities and implications of technology.