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Widener Sponsors Poynter Event Celebrating 25 Years of News on the Web

Widener sophomore Communication Studies major Drew Phillipes (right) takes a selfie with panelist Jeff Jarvis, founder of BuzzMachine.

The Poynter Institute, a global leader in journalism, held “Journalism and the Web@25: Lessons in Disruption, Evolution and Endurance” hosted at the Ford Foundation on July 29. The “Web@25” panel was sponsored by Widener University, PR Newswire and Widmeyer Communications.

The panel consisted of journalists and media executives including Tim Franklin, president of The Poynter Institute; Kathleen Carroll, executive editor and senior vice president of the Associated Press; Melissa Bell, co-founder of and senior product manager and executive editor of Vox Media; Rob King, senior vice president of SportsCenter and News at ESPN; Jeff Jarvis, founder of BuzzMachine and professor and director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at City University of New York; and Brian Stelter, senior media correspondent and host of Reliable Sources on CNN.

“The Web has completely reshaped everyone’s beliefs about journalism and the way in which the news is reported,” said Tim Franklin, president of Poynter. “This event is a conversation starter for the journalism industry, as the news cycle and news absorption techniques of the public evolve. For the last 25 years, Poynter has been a leader in preparing journalists in reporting effectively and ethically, while keeping in mind each day’s new, groundbreaking reporting methods. Poynter serves as a link between ‘new’ and ‘old’ media to ensure the industry’s professionals are ready for what is on the horizon.”

Before the panel discussion began, industry professionals from the advertising, technology and communication fields, as well as leadership from The Poynter Institute, engaged with each other and also with a group of select Widener University students, who helped facilitate the evening. The panel provided an insider’s look, not only into the past 25 years of journalism and the effect that the Web has had on it, but also took a glimpse at what the next quarter century could bring.

“When the Web was introduced it challenged newsrooms worldwide to adapt, and the industry responded beautifully,” said Amy Franzini, chairperson of the Communication Studies program at Widener University in her opening remarks. “As we begin the next chapter of news on the web, the importance of understanding its connection with journalism is more important than ever. Widener believes in Poynter’s mission to connect journalists around the world and we are honored to be involved in an important discussion with those helping to shape the future of news.”

For the event, several Widener faculty members wrote opinion pieces for the Poynter website Press Room page on the impact of the web on several fields including privacy, mental health, and the gathering and dissemination of news. Authors included Franzini, Angie Corbo, assistant professor of communication studies; Dwight DeWerth-Pallmeyer, associate professor of communication studies; Sanjay Nath, director of the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology; and Robert Power, professor of law.  

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is an international leader in journalism education, and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and 21st century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., and at conferences and organizational sites around the world. Its e-learning division, News University ( offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum in 6 languages, with more than 400 interactive courses and 290,000 registered users in more than 200 countries. The Institute’s website ( produces 24-hour coverage of news about media, ethics, technology, the business of news and the trends that currently define and redefine journalism news reporting. The world’s top journalists and media innovators come to Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcast producers, and to build public awareness about journalism, media, the First Amendment and protected discourse that serves democracy and the public good.

Widener University is a metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve more than 6,300 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free campus. Visit the university’s website,