SRI Application Timeline

November 15: Deadline to apply. You will receive an email confirming that your application has been received.

November 29: Applicants will learn if they are finalists for funding. Finalists may be asked for additional information.

December 13: Deadline for finalists to submit supplemental information.

December 23: Finalists will be notified if they are recipients of funds to host an SRI.

Poynter's Role in the SRI Program

The McCormick Foundation partners with The Poynter Institute to administer the Specialized Reporting Institutes Program. Poynter oversees the application process, answers applicants’ questions, works with McCormick to select SRI hosts and then serves as a resource for hosts as they carry out and evaluate their events. Poynter will also work with hosts to extend the learning from their event through a NewsU webinar and a page of reporting resources on NewsU. Through this partnership, McCormick and Poynter hope to ensure a diversity of participants and speakers at each SRI, increase the online reach of the training, build community around the training events, create consistency within the SRI program and enhance the evaluation of the work.

For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions. If you still need assistance, please send an email to

Specialized Reporting Institutes

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation, through its partner The Poynter Institute, invites applications to offer a Specialized Reporting Institute (SRI). SRIs meet the growing need to provide journalists and others with subject-specific expertise and practical reporting training on issues or topics in the news. An SRI is organized and administered by an SRI host, who plans and carries out the program and related e-learning, to share lessons with a broader audience.

Each workshop convenes a diverse group of journalists, often from small to mid-sized news organizations, plus educators, for a program lasting about two days. (Here are previous SRI topics, hosts and locations, with links to sample agendas.) Hosts also work with Poynter and NewsU to produce a webinar and a page of reporting resources on the topic for NewsU.

The 2014 SRI series has been finalized. SRI workshop participants represent all media platforms, and SRI funds cover participants’ travel, lodging and tuition. Funds also cover the costs of the webinar and gathering materials for the resource page. SRI hosts receive $35,000-$45,000 (the average is about $40,000) to cover these costs. Applications to host 2015 SRIs will be available in fall 2014. 

How to Apply

  1. Be familiar with the goals of a Specialized Reporting Institute to ensure that your proposal will seek to achieve those goals.
  2. Know these requirements for an SRI and be prepared to address them in your application.
  3. Select your topic and plan the key components of your proposal: location, faculty or workshop leaders, participant recruitment, the topic and timing of the online chat, Webinar and any other elements that will enhance the effectiveness and impact of your SRI.
  4. To fill out an application or find out more infomation, visit the NewsU site at Poynter Institute.

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