New Online Resources for Middle Managers Are Now Available from the Frontline Editors Project

Two New Online Courses Are Available at E-Learning Site News University

Contact: Marc Fest
Director of Communications
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 4, 2007) — The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced the launch of three new online resources from the Frontline Editors Project – the culmination of a three-year study that analyzed the role of the frontline editor in order to better prepare journalists for the pivotal newsroom role.

As a result of the study, two new online courses will be available at News University,, a project of The Poynter Institute that is also funded by the Knight Foundation, and a Web site,, with a forum that will be hosted by Jacqui Banaszynski, Knight Chair in Editing at the Missouri School of Journalism. The announcement coincides with the opening session today of the annual Associated Press Managing Editors convention here.

Frontline Editors Project
The Frontline Editors Project website.

“The job of the frontline editor is among the most challenging in the newsroom, but reporters and copy editors who move into these roles are often unprepared and undertrained,” says Michele McLellan, coordinating director of The Frontline Editors Project. “By understanding the wide range of attributes necessary to do the job well, news organizations and individuals will be better able to identify strengths, weaknesses and development needs, enabling them to put together a professional learning plan.”

“This project is an innovative way to help the individual better understand his or her preferred work style,” added Howard Finberg, Poynter’s director of interactive learning and one of the project leaders. “Our goal is to empower frontline editors to understand their personal style as a way to become more effective in the newsroom.”

“Frontline editors are the true guardians of newsroom culture,” said Eric Newton, Knight Foundation’s vice president, journalism program. “When they get better at their jobs, the whole newsroom gets better.”

The project included the participation of 100 frontline editors and journalism educators along with the services of Assessment Technologies Group, an organizational consultant that provides services to support human resource decision-making. The results led to the creation of two online courses that help frontline editors understand the more than 20 traits needed to succeed.

The first of the two online courses, Frontline Editors Introduction: Understanding Leadership Styles, offers a general overview of the 22 traits of an effective frontline editor and provides participants with a basic understanding of how their traits fit the job description. It also includes an introduction to resources and training that may help an individual’s performance.

The second online course, Frontline Editors, Personal Edition: Job Aptitude and Analysis, is more in-depth, featuring a questionnaire that analyzes the participant’s aptitude for the frontline editing role and delivering a personalized report with recommended resources and training opportunities. Designed for individuals looking for specific information about how they will perform, this course costs $125.

The Frontline Editors Web site will provide a virtual homeroom for newsroom assigning editors to find support and information, share stories and create a community of colleagues. It will provide links to training resources, tip sheets and a discussion forum where editors can find and help each other.

“Frontline editors sit at the hub of their newsrooms, but are often isolated from each other,” said Banaszynski, who worked as an assigning editor for more than 10 years. “We want to provide a place they can come for support, advice and a sense of belonging. And we hope that they make the Web site theirs.”

Both courses are available at NewsU at

About the Frontline Editors Project

The Frontline Editors Project was formed in 2004 as a loose coalition of journalists and journalism educators who wanted to study and promote the professional development needs of frontline editors in America’s newsrooms as a way to grow the industry’s capacity to innovate and change. The participants believed that industry change efforts would succeed only if industry leaders adopted fresh perspectives on the importance of the people factor, especially in critical ranks of middle management.

More than 100 frontline editors and educators participated in a series of conferences around the United States in 2005 and 2006. The effort was funded by Knight Foundation.

About News University @ The Poynter Institute

News University ( offers newsroom training to journalists and journalism students through its interactive e-learning program and links to other journalism education and training opportunities via its blog, Access ( The program is a project of The Poynter Institute and is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

About Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes journalism excellence worldwide and invests in the vitality of the U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950 the foundation has granted more than $300 million to advance journalism quality and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation supports ideas and projects that create transformational change.

Updated: April 21, 2020

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