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Coaching Commons adds Community Supported Journalist

Ruth Ann Harnisch, president of the Harnisch Foundation, gave my Representative Journalism project a jump start early in 2008 with a gift to get its own community supported journalist.

Ruth Ann was willing to wait to get a community supported journalist for the Coaching Commons, which her foundation underwrites. Well now the wait is over. Mark Joyella is joining the Coaching Commons as its CSJ. The Center for Sustainable Journalism, which the Harnisch Foundation also underwrites, will be advising and building its body of research to better understand how to make community supported journalism work best and how others can apply it.

The full press release is below and here is a photo of Joyella eating fire — here is what eating fire has to do with journalism:

NEW YORK, June 2 , 2009/PRNewswire/ — Emmy Award winning reporter Mark Joyella has joined the Coaching Commons as its first Community Supported Journalist, covering the field of professional coaching worldwide.

The Coaching Commons, a project of The Harnisch Foundation, offers an independent online gathering place ( for anyone interested in professional coaching, to discuss issues, share best practices, learn about the latest research, and create the future of coaching.

“It’s fitting that a journalist of Mark Joyella’s experience and expertise becomes the first multimedia reporter covering the coaching beat worldwide,” said Ruth Ann Harnisch, president of The Harnisch Foundation, which funds initiatives in the fields of philanthropy, coaching and journalism ( “I believe great coaches and great journalists have much in common: they’re endlessly curious, willing to ask provocative questions, they refuse to be stonewalled, and they are not intimidated by powerful personalities.”

Joyella will write and report on coaching for the Commons, creating multimedia content and engaging Commons participants across various media platforms and social networking sites.

“We not only respect Mark — we enjoy him,” said Harnisch, who is a certified coach. “We hope everyone who hangs out at the Coaching Commons will too. We hope visitors to will read what he writes, watch his video reports, listen to his interviews, and pepper him with the same kind of lively questions he’ll be asking of the coaching business and the people who populate it.”

Joyella, a graduate of Emory University, has worked as a news reporter and anchor at television stations in Colorado, Georgia, and Alabama, most recently in Miami (WPLG/ABC 10) and New York City (WNYW/FOX 5). Mark’s reporting has taken him across the country and around the world, covering stories throughout Central and South America, the Caribbean and the Middle East. In addition, Mark has reported for the New York Post, written magazine articles, taught aspiring journalists through and served as a media coach for corporations and individuals. Mark also blogs about the local news business at

Joyella has been awarded five Emmys, and has been honored by the Associated Press and the Radio-Television News Directors Association. Joyella brings personal experience to the coaching beat – he coaches professional journalists and jobseekers in media, and has received professional coaching himself.

“As my friends in local news endure round after round of layoffs and turmoil, I’m thrilled and humbled to be chosen for this unique new assignment,” said Joyella. “As Ruth Ann Harnisch says, ‘Journalism keeps institutions honest. But as newspapers shrink coverage and television closes bureaus, beats get left uncovered.’ The idea of a community electing to hire a reporter to keep the focus on itself is amazing, and potentially a model for the future.”

Leonard Witt, executive director of the Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University says, “This experiment in community supported journalism offers the Center for Sustainable Journalism a wonderful opportunity to do research and provide best practices advice in community building. Experiments like this one will help us figure out how to make journalism sustainable in the future.”

“Mark wasn’t hired to write fluff or puff pieces,” says Harnisch. “We expect him to cover this beat using his well-honed and widely recognized journalistic skills, without fear or favor. I think it’s natural to suspect we’ve hired him to cover only the most positive aspects of professional coaching, but his job is to find and report on what’s most important and meaningful in the field. We’re engaged in an interesting experiment here – will the coaching community truly support an independent voice, even when it’s uncomfortable for us? As any professional coach will attest, the coaching experience sometimes creates extreme discomfort in order to achieve a breakthrough. Let’s see how well we walk our talk.”

The Harnisch Foundation is the founding funder of The Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University, as well as the founding funder of The Institute of Coaching, which supports and advances coaching-related research headquartered at Harvard Medical School’s teaching facility McLean Hospital.

Since 1998, The Harnisch Foundation has been a catalyst for sustainable social change, currently funding and implementing innovation in the fields of philanthropy, coaching, and journalism. For more information about the Harnisch Foundation, visit

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