NewsU Stories 2012: How Has NewsU Transformed You

Poynter’s e-learning project, News University, was built with the goal of making it easier for everyone to get training. One of our sayings is, "Journalism Training. Anywhere. Anytime. For Anyone."

To celebrate crossing the milestone of 200,000 registered users in 2012, we asked you to tell us NewsU has helped you.

We're delighted by the stories we received. Some stories make us smile; some make us cry. They all make us proud of the impact we are having on journalists, educators, students and others.

Congratulations to our winners! And congratulations to everyone who has shared their story about the power of lifelong learning offered through Poynter's NewsU.

Want to put the power of NewsU to work for you? See our complete list of training, including Webinars and online seminars, at

Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner

News Reporter,
Deposit Courier

Small town, rural America has a special ambiance that creates a slower paced, more relaxed, everybody-knows-your-name kind of feel. It also has some definite disadvantages. Jobs are often limited and travel time to a larger city is a consideration when contemplating options during a career shift.

For 25 years I enjoyed my role as the supervising education specialist in a private school. When the economy of our area downshifted, the school closed and I found myself facing some tough decisions. My sister and I had adopted two girls and at ages teen and pre-teen, homeschooling was solidly in the game plan.

Sifting an hour commute into a schedule that was already filled with algebra and biology assignments and all the drama that goes with adolescence didn't seem a viable option.

A tiny ad in our local newspaper snagged my attention. Could I make the quantum leap from private education to small town news reporter? Running out of money and reasonable possibilities, I called the number on the ad.

My job interview lasted about five minutes. Experience? None. Do you read the newspaper? Of course! Can you work at home? Absolutely! (Problem of home schooling solved!) Are you willing to learn? Definitely! Good, Job's yours.
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Honorable Mention

Merit Winners

Jean Griffith-Thompson

Director of Circulation and Marketing
AmericanStyle magazine/The Rosen Group

Poynter NewsU helped me "Be Prepared" to teach journalism skills to Boy Scouts in Baltimore.

Last fall, a telephone call summoned me to Scout headquarters in Baltimore. Ron McKinney, then a Boy Scouts of America district official for Baltimore, greeted me and shared this dilemma: Scout programs in the city's poorest communities lag behind their suburban counterparts by many measurements, including the number of merit badges earned by the boys. This hinders their ability to advance through the ranks and qualify for Eagle Scout status. Furthermore, this squanders an opportunity: Merit badge requirements expose youths to fields of study and work that broaden their horizons. Read More

Tara Leonard

Web Developer / Page Designer
The Chronicle

First off, thank you Poynter NewsU!

I joined the newsroom staff of The Chronicle in Centralia, Wash., two years ago as the newsroom assistant. I had never worked at a newspaper before and was really nervous about learning the ins and outs a new industry.

At first, my newsroom assistant duties seemed overwhelming, but as time went on, I was able to shrink the amount of time my tasks took. I eventually found myself with free time at the end of each day. Read More

Jayne Watts

Administrative Assistant
Post-Bulletin Co.

The Beginning: Originally, I was directed to via my manager to simply "check it out". The site was in beta development but it was obvious from my first visit, this was an up-and-coming news training resource of significance. I registered and was thrilled to find several courses that would grow my skills as an admin -- we all need better grammar and a fuller understanding of how written language functions. Furthermore, I'm personally interested to learn more about news writing, layout and design and keep up with current news trends. Read More

Michelle Hofmann

Journalism Instructor
Los Angeles Pierce College, Woodland Hils, Calif.

In 1994, I was a deli waitress in Los Angeles and worked in phone sales during the day. I long dreamed about being a reporter. But at 29, and with no formal education to speak of, I really thought that ship had sailed.

In spring 1994, I walked into the counseling office at Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif. I drove past the campus daily in my two-job commute and finally decided to give college a try.Read More

Myles Dannhausen

News Editor
Peninsula Pulse

I became a reporter in 2004 after spending eight years as the owner of a bar and restaurant. I began by writing for pride for the Peninsula Pulse, an upstart independent newspaper in Door County, Wis. At the Pulse we're short on journalism degrees (I don't have one) but long on commitment to the stories of our community. Read More

Tim Lindop


I have shot video for twenty years and never once considered myself working in journalism, even when shooting for reporters from National networks and local television.

As a cameraman, I labored under the burden of thinking my future was in Hollywood, a move I always resisted. I watched time fly by left with my doubts and feeling like a failure.
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