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Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

Murrow News Fellowship

The inaugural cohort of six Murrow News Fellows began their two-year reporting assignment this month, focusing on civic affairs in underserved Washington communities. Their beats range from voting and water rights to housing and economic policies. Applications will soon be available for three reporting slots delayed until summer.

Over its first two years, the state-funded initiative will place a total of 16 aspiring journalists with news organizations, from rural to urban. In applying, prospective host news organizations of all sizes and formats can submit a plan to enhance local public affairs news coverage and deepen citizens’ understanding of complex community issues and policies.

Proposals for news organizations seeking a fellow in the second cohort, starting this summer, are now under review.

 

Want to apply to be a Murrow News Fellow? Watch this link for positions expected to be posted in early summer!

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Fellowship Information

Fellows are Washington State University employees assigned to work with partner news organizations.

  • The program is open to journalists committed to careers in writing/reporting, digital, video, audio, photo and/or multimedia.
  • Those selected emphasize enterprise reporting on matters of civic interest and public policy such as health, education, economic development, environment, criminal justice and community leaders and agencies.
  • Fellows receive $55,000 annually with benefits as WSU employees. They receive stipends for travel and equipment as needed.

The Murrow College provides ongoing training for fellows, resulting in a certificate in digital media. Fellows must complete the training and participate in discussions with leaders in journalism, media law, digital security, misinformation, ethics, civic information, community engagement, public information access and related topics.

The summer 2024 selection committee will comprise program manager Jody Brannon and Murrow professor Lisa Waananen Jones, plus a member of the newsroom the fellow seeks to join. For the first cohort, the five-person hiring committee comprised Brannon, Jones Seattle Pacific journalism professor Peg Achterman, Seattle Times reporter Heidi Groover (former Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild president), and Jeff Hite, director of recruiting, Spokane’s KHQ/Cowles Media.

Partnering
News Organizations

For the second cohort of fellows, 25 proposals were submitted in April 2024; they are under review by the evaluation team of professor Ben Shors and program manager Jody Brannon, both with the Murrow College; University of Washington professor Andrea Otáñez; and journalists Holly Menino, of KOMO TV, and Jim Camden, of the Spokesman-Review. In the initial call for proposals, in November 2023, 40 newsrooms applied, spanning daily and weekly newspapers, TV stations, radio, and digital news outlets. The five-person evaluation team comprised Shors, Brannon, Menino and professional journalists Enrique Cerna and Julie Shirley.

Cameras at a live media conference

Service & Operation

The Murrow College, in consultation with industry leaders, will produce an annual report on the fellowship program and the state of the media in Washington state; assistant professor Jennifer Henrichsen leads the research project. An advisory board provides feedback to Murrow’s program manager, the Murrow College, state officials and the state’s officials as needed.

Rural Plunge

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Partnership Options

General questions about the program and applications should be directed to murrow.news.fellowship@wsu.edu or program manager Jody Brannon.

News and Press Releases

Murrow College Names News Organizations to Host Inaugural Murrow Fellows
Picture caption: The purple indicators are for news organizations hosting a fellow; news organizations denoted by orange, yellow, red and green indicators will share a fellow. Read more College, News Fellowship
16 Murrow News Fellows to be Reporting by Summer
By Jody Brannon Murrow News Fellowship program manager Read more College, News Fellowship

Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective Newsrooms

This program is designed to help news organizations across Washington state bolster civic news coverage in underserved communities with journalists, preferring promising reporters with familiarity with Washington state issues. The state-funded initiative places fellows with Washington news organizations for two-year, full-time reporting positions. In addition, fellows receive ongoing training, perhaps applying insights into privacy, interactivity, media law and other topics with their news teams.

The mission of the program is to enrich Washington state residents’ understanding of civic affairs and to extend the host organization’s journalistic impact to new and existing audiences. Coverage and assigned beats might entail substantive reporting of local news and policy issues spanning health, education, economic development, environment, criminal justice and under-represented communities. Fellows might cover breaking news, but they should be more focused on issues within the community.

The program is open to all news outlets in Washington state, regardless of the media platform and can represent for-profit or nonprofit media, community and ethnic news outlets or news associations.

Prospective host organizations submit a proposal, specifying how a fellow would expand coverage of civic affairs to new and existing audiences, including residents in rural areas of Washington and/or underserved populations. Applicants detail a plan to provide editing and professional development support for their fellow, though the fellowship program also may provide some editorial support.

News organizations that produce original, local content in Washington state are encouraged to apply. Successful newsroom applicants will have demonstrated a strong commitment to expanding local news coverage into underserved areas or beats and developed a clear plan for how the fellow will extend and/or fulfill the communities’ information needs.

Nothing monetary. As administrator of the legislative funding, Washington State University formally employs the fellows. However, the “cost” will be to newsroom editors or supervisors who will direct and coach fellows on their story assignments and beats. The newsroom should provide a suitable workspace for the fellow as well as access to any required software or equipment outside of that provided by the university.

Washington State leaders first evaluate the candidates for minimal qualifications. Materials of eligible candidates are then shared with the host newsroom, based applicant pool and, if selected, works to recruit suitable candidates with skillsets and backgrounds likely to success on those beats.

Yes. News crosses geographic boundaries, so media outlets may pair to submit an application for a shared fellow. In such cases, the application should clearly identify a primary point of contact for the fellow, as well as clearly delineate information needs and news priorities for the reporter.

The fellowship is open to graduates of two-year, four-year, or master’s programs, preferencing those from Washington state. The fellowship welcomes candidates committed to journalism careers in writing, digital, video, audio, photo and/or multimedia.

The Murrow College provides ongoing training, culminating in a certificate in digital media. Fellows must complete the training and participate in discussions with thought leaders in journalism, media law, ethics, digital security, misinformation, civic information, community engagement, public information access, and related topics. This element of the fellowship occurs on their personal time away from the newsroom.

Murrow fellows receive $55,000 annually with benefits as WSU employees and observe the university’s holiday and vacation policies. They are expected to work full time with their news outlet, but rarely if ever more than 40 hours a week as overtime requires approval from a university representative. Leave should be planned in consultation with WSU’s program manager and the news organization’s point of contact.

In agreement with their supervisors, fellows may work remotely, but all fellows agree to move to the community to which they are selected. In the application, publishers indicate whether the fellow should have a vehicle to perform their duties.

No. Fellows are asked to commit to a two-year appointment with a newsroom. The goal is to make a match that is so fitting that neither party wants to curtail the two-year commitment.

Onboarding and internal training will be up to the host newsroom. As part of the fellowship, the reporters will spend about two hours per week in training and professional development outside of their commitment to the news outlet. Most programming will be online and asynchronous to maximize flexibility for the fellows’ schedules. The fellowship likely will include two annual in-person gatherings, and the program will provide ample notice of those dates to newsroom partners.

For Applicants

This program was created in 2023 to offer early-career journalists the opportunity to report on civic affairs in underserved communities, from rural to urban. The state-funded two-year initiative was conceived to place eight fellows each year with Washington news organizations to report for two years, full-time. As the program takes shape in 2024, at total of 16 reporters will be reporting in communities across the state; the first six began their two-year stints in April. In addition, fellows will receive ongoing training, mentorship and a strong cohort experience.

The fellowship is open to graduates of two-year, four-year, or graduate programs, preferencing those familiar with Washington state issues. Candidates should be committed to journalism careers in writing, digital, video, audio, photo and/or multimedia. Current working journalists may apply, but the fellowship is a full-time commitment beginning at the program’s start date.

No. Reporting experience and work samples, perhaps gained in service to student media or as an intern, may be sufficient evidence for selection. Other considerations may involve secondary language skills or familiarity with a topic area that appeals to a participating news organization.

The mission of the program is to enrich Washington state residents’ understanding of civic affairs and to extend the host organization’s journalistic impact to new and existing audiences. Coverage and assigned beats might entail substantive reporting of local news and policy issues spanning health, education, economic development, environment, criminal justice and under-represented communities. The goal is to match the needs of a host news organization with an applicant’s interests, aptitude and skillset.

Partnering news organizations will produce original, local content about issues relevant to Washington residents. Successful newsroom applicants will have demonstrated a strong commitment to expanding local news coverage into underserved communities or beats and developed a clear plan for how the fellow will fulfill the communities’ information needs.

Starting with the summer 2024 cohort, applicants will know the identity of the organization and its beats. The WSU application indicates the fellowship is based in Pullman, but that is incorrect: Rather, that reflects where a fellows’ paycheck originates.

The program is open to all news outlets in Washington state, regardless of the media platform; they can represent for-profit or nonprofit media, community and ethnic news outlets, or news associations, irrespective of platform. Prospective host organizations are expected to articulate a plan for how the fellow will expand coverage of civic affairs to new and existing audiences, including residents in rural areas of Washington and/or underserved populations.

Newsroom applicants are asked to detail their plan to provide editing and professional development support for their reporter, though the fellowship program may offer some editing assistance.

The Murrow College provides ongoing training, culminating in a certificate in digital media. In their non-newsroom hours, fellows must complete the training and participate in virtual discussions with other fellows, plus thought leaders in journalism, media law, ethics, digital security, misinformation, civic information, community engagement, public information access, and related topics.

Murrow fellows, as university employees, receive $55,000 annually with benefits. They also receive stipends for travel and equipment as needed. WSU’s benefits options include health and dental coverage plus retirement and savings plans. The salary is non-negotiable.

The fellows are categorized by Washington State University as administrative professionals, and their employment terminates at 24 months. They work full time with their news outlet, earning leave benefits at the university's rate. Leave time is planned in consultation with WSU’s program manager and the news organization’s point of contact. Fellows adhere to scheduled WSU holidays, not those of their host organization.

Graduating students may apply but must have completed their degree prior to their start date.

WSU employs only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized non-U.S. citizens. All new employees must provide identity and employment eligibility verifications as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to comply with the Immigration Reform and Control Act.

A limited amount of work may be conducted virtually, but fellows must move if they are matched with a news organization outside of their current community of residence.

No. Fellows are asked to commit to a two-year appointment with a newsroom. Further, a fellow can serve for only a single cycle, though the newsroom and individual could agree to negotiate continuing employment beyond two years.

Fellows should plan to spend about two hours per week in training and professional development outside of their commitment to the news outlet. Most programming will be online and asynchronous to maximize flexibility for the fellows’ schedules, but the fellow should also maintain weekly contact with the program manager as needed. The fellowship likely will include two annual in-person gatherings, and the program will provide ample notice of those dates to newsroom partners.