Record reporter Erin Haluschak

Vancouver Island Free Daily correspondent selected to prestigious academy

Erin Haluschak to attend the Poynter Institute Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media

Comox Valley Record reporter and Vancouver Island Free Daily correspondent Erin Haluschak will miss the Feb. 27 Comox council meeting.

She’ll be in Florida… but there won’t be much time for sun and fun.

Haluschak has been selected as one of 90 female journalists from around the world to attend the Poynter Institute 2019 Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media, in St. Petersburg.

This will be Haluschak’s second experience with Poynter Institute programs. In 2018 she attended a one-day symposium in Los Angeles, which was somewhat of a spin-off course derived from the 2018 Leadership Academy.

“The number of applications for the five-day course at Poynter is extremely high, so last year the institute decided to expand its offerings by hosting one-day seminars in New York City and L.A.,” Haluschak said. “[At] the course last year, I was surrounded by an unbelievable cohort of female journalists from a variety of media outlets around North America. I was able to see how together, women can be more effective leaders in journalism by developing a deeper understanding of the environment in which they work, and gained tools that shaped my environment for the better. One theme that truly carried with me is when women can change the journalism industry, we can make democracy stronger.

“After attending last year, I left very inspired and wanting more – which is why I applied to the full leadership academy.”

She said that while she was hopeful of being selected for this year’s academy, she was not expectant. The Poynter Institute received more than 400 applications from around the world.

“I honestly was not expecting to be chosen for the program – it’s a very humbling experience. Hundreds and hundreds of women from news outlets from around the world applied, and I was one of [90] women to be chosen. That’s incredible, and I’m very honoured. To me, the women included in my class truly represent leadership in digital journalism, and I look forward to sharing this experience with them.”

There are a total of three academies in 2019, with 30 participants in each. Haluschak will be attending the first course, from Feb. 24-March 1. She is the only Canadian print journalist in this academy.

“It’s amazing to represent Black Press as the only Canadian print media in the program; I’m very curious and am looking forward to the differences in culture and leadership – if any – between American and Canadian newsrooms,” she said. “We also have a journalist joining the program from India, so I’m excited to share stories and experiences with other journalists around the world.”

Poynter Institute introduced the members of the first academy in a Jan. 23 press release.

“It’s a privilege for Poynter to train classes of these top-notch journalists who will continue to rise in our industry,” said Doris Truong, Poynter director of training and diversity. “The time they spend with us gives them the confidence to push for important initiatives when they get home, including shining a spotlight on untold stories in the community.”

During Poynter’s weeklong program, attendees will receive one-on-one career coaching from top media executives, learn practical advice on navigating newsroom culture and gain a deep understanding of what it takes to successfully lead today’s digital news organizations.

Sessions include a practical “How to Get Sh** Done” panel, a stress-reduction breath workshop, career lessons from past academy members, and a hands-on ethical decision-making class.

“From managing burnout to leading when the future is unclear, today’s journalists face unique challenges. Each guest speaker and session is deliberately chosen with that in mind,” said Katie Hawkins-Gaar, the lead faculty for Poynter’s 2019 Leadership Academies for Women in Digital Media.

“It’s incredible to witness the shift as participants become less stressed and more empowered throughout the week.”

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