Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a non-profit journalism school and research organization located in St. Petersburg, Florida. The school is the owner of the Tampa Bay Times newspaper.[2][3]

Poynter Institute
Logo of the Poynter Institute
MottoDemocracy needs journalism. Journalism needs Poynter.
TypeSchool of Journalism
EstablishedMay 29, 1975
PresidentNeil Brown[1]
Location, ,


The school began on May 29, 1975, when Nelson Poynter, the owner and chairman of the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times) and Times Publishing Company, announced that he planned to start a small journalism school called the Modern Media Institute. (The name of the school was changed to the Poynter Institute almost a decade later.)

In 1977, Nelson Poynter willed ownership of the Times Publishing Company to the Institute so that after his death the school would become the owner of the St. Petersburg Times. Poynter died on June 15, 1978, at the age of 74. He had become ill in his office just a few hours after he helped break ground for the new St. Petersburg campus of the University of South Florida.

At that point the Institute began to grow into the larger school that exists today. The Poynter Institute's second president, Robert J. Haiman, moved the institute in 1985 from the bank building on Central Avenue to the award-winning building where it is located today.[4]

Craig Newmark is a board member of the Poynter Foundation and donated $1 million to it in 2015.[5][6]

News University

News University (NewsU) is a project of the Poynter Institute that offers journalism training through methods including e-learning courses, webinars, and learning games. NewsU is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.[7]

International Fact-Checking Network

In 2015, the institute launched the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), which sets a code of ethics for fact-checking organizations. The IFCN reviews fact-checkers for compliance with its code, and issues a certification to publishers who pass the audit. The certification lasts for one year, and fact-checkers must be re-examined annually to retain their certifications.[8] Google, Facebook, and other technology companies use the IFCN's certification to vet publishers for fact-checking contracts.[9][10]

The IFCN and the American Press Institute jointly publish Factually, a newsletter on fact-checking and journalism ethics.[8][11]

Fake news blacklist

In 2019, Poynter used various "fake news" databases (including those curated by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, Merrimack College, PolitiFact, and Snopes) to compile a list of over 515 news websites that it labeled "unreliable." Poynter called on advertisers to "blacklist" the sites on the list. The list included conservative news websites such as the Washington Examiner, The Washington Free Beacon, and The Daily Signal. After backlash, Poynter retracted the list, citing "weaknesses in the methodology."[12] Poynter issued a statement saying "We regret that we failed to ensure that the data was rigorous before publication, and apologize for the confusion and agitation caused by its publication."[13]

See also


  1. "Neil Brown". Poynter.
  2. "Company Overview of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Inc". Bloomberg. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  3. "Short film celebrates Pulitzer Prize centennial". Florida. tampabay.com. 12 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016. The Poynter Institute, which owns the Tampa Bay Times, hosted one such event on March 31.
  4. "History". Poynter. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  5. Gold, Hadas (12 December 2016). "Craigslist founder gives Poynter Institute $1 million to support 'journalism ethics'". Politico. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  6. O'Shea, Chris (12 December 2018). "Craig Newmark Donates $1 Million to Poynter Institute". Ad Week. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  7. "Poynter Institute to grow 'News University' platform with Knight Foundation funding". Tampa Bay Times. June 28, 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  8. Lerner-Rubin, D. (October 23, 2019). "Fact-checking fact-checkers". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  9. Ananth, Venkat (7 May 2019). "Can fact-checking emerge as big and viable business?". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  10. Owen, Laura Hazard. "Finally, Instagram is getting fact-checked (in a limited way and just in the U.S., for now)". Nieman Journalism Lab. Nieman Foundation for Journalism. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  11. Granger, Jacob (24 April 2019). "10 essential newsletters every journalist should read". Journalism.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  12. Concha, Joe (May 3, 2019). "Poynter pulls blacklist of 'unreliable' news websites after backlash". The Hill. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  13. Allen, Barbara. "Letter from the Editor". Poynter Institute. Retrieved 3 May 2019.

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