Al Tompkins


Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online. He has taught thousands of journalists, journalism students and educators in newsrooms around the world. His teaching focused on writing, reporting, storytelling, ethics, critical thinking, photojournalism, social media and online journalism.

Tompkins has taught television news producers, reporters, photojournalists and managers in his workshops in 49 states, Canada, Egypt, Ecuador, Denmark, Cayman, Iceland and South Africa. He has taught and coached print newsrooms in the U.S. and abroad how to build interactive news websites, how to use video more effectively online and how to manage ethical issues that arise online.

Al is an FAA licensed drone pilot and has organized and lead drone journalism workshops around America that produced more than 325 graduates. He co-authored the drone ethics guide.

Tompkins is the author of the book “Aim For The Heart: Write, Shoot, Report, Produce for TV and Online,” which is being used by more than 125 universities as their main broadcast writing, reporting and ethics textbook.

He co-authored four editions of the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation’s “Newsroom Ethics” workbook. In 1998, Tompkins joined Poynter’s faculty from his job as news director at WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tenn. For 24 years, he worked as a photojournalist, reporter, producer, anchor, assistant news director, special projects/investigations director, documentary producer and news director.

Awards: During his two and a half decades as a journalist, and nearly two decades as a teacher at Poynter, Tompkins has been awarded many of journalism's highest honors.

Al's profile on Poynter