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Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

Murrow News Fellowship

The inaugural cohort of nine Murrow News Fellows in April will begin reporting for two years on civic affairs in underserved Washington communities, covering a range of beats as proposed by the host news organizations.

Over the first two years, the state-funded initiative will place a total of 16 aspiring journalists in news organizations, from rural to urban, submitting a strong proposal to enhance its local public affairs news coverage and deepen citizens’ understanding of complex community issues and policies.

Once host newsrooms select their fellow from a shortlist of applicants, an announcement naming those individuals will follow, likely in early March.

Sunset

Fellowship Information

Fellows will be employed by Washington State University but 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 will be assigned local news beats will emphasize enterprise reporting on matters of civic interest, such as health, education, economic development, environment, criminal justice and community leaders and agencies.
  • Fellows will receive $55,000 annually with benefits as employees of Washington State. University. The fellows will also receive stipends for travel and equipment as needed.

The Murrow College will provide ongoing training for fellows resulting in a certificate in digital media. Fellows will be required to 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 five-person hiring committee comprises program manager Jody Brannon, Murrow professor Lisa Waananen 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. The evaluation and selection process is likely to conclude in early February.

Partnering
News Organizations

Forty newsrooms, whose coverage spans 36 of Washington’s 39 counties, applied to host an inaugural Murrow fellow; submissions came from daily and weekly newspapers, television stations, radio, and digital news outlets. A five-person evaluation team of Murrow staff (professor Ben Shors and manager Jody Brannon) and professional journalists (Enrique Cerna, Holly Menino and Julie Shirley) considered 40 proposals, based on the applicants’ plans to support and direct the fellow on a specific beat. The evaluation and selection process will conclude in January.

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. An advisory board will provide 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 promising early-career journalist. The state-funded initiative will select eight fellows with Washington news organizations for two-year, full-time reporting positions in early 2024. In addition, fellows will 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 will 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. Applicants will explain their plan to provide editing and professional development support for their fellow, though the fellowship program also will provide some editorial support. The application period is Oct. 15 to Nov. 30, 2023. Fill out an application.

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 will lead a screening committee that will examine the applicant pool and present likely prospects to the partner news organization early in 2024. Factors will include matching the candidates’ interests and aptitude with the skillset the partner needs most.

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 graduate programs, preferencing those familiar with Washington state issues. The fellowship expects to attract candidates committed to journalism careers in writing, digital, video, audio, photo and/or multimedia.

The Murrow College will provide ongoing training, culminating in a certificate in digital media. Fellows will be required to 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 will receive $55,000 annually with benefits as WSU employees and will 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.

A limited amount of work may be completed remotely, but fellows will be agreeing to move if they are matched with a news organization outside of their current community of residence. In the application, publishers will 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 at least two hours per week in training and professional development outside of their commitment to the news outlet. Most of the 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 is designed to offer early-career journalists the opportunity to report on civic affairs in underserved communities, from rural to urban. The state-funded initiative will pair eight fellows with Washington news organizations for two-year, full-time reporting positions beginning in early 2024. 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.

The inaugural fellowship group will not be able to prioritize their possible placement as the initial eight news organizations will not be known until after the fellow application deadline. In the cover letter, a candidate can indicate regional and/or beat preferences. The WSU application indicates the fellowship is based in Pullman, but that is incorrect: Rather, that reflects where a fellows’ paycheck will originate.

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 will be asked to submit a plan to provide editing and professional development support for their reporter, though the fellowship program also offers some editorial support.

The Murrow College will provide ongoing training, culminating in a certificate in digital media. In their non-newsroom hours, fellows will be required to 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.

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

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

Graduating students may apply but will need to 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 completed remotely, but fellows may need to move if they are matched with a news organization outside of their current community of residence. Fellows should indicate in their application their preferred location and whether they are able to move. If you are accepted into the program but cannot move, the program will attempt to match you with an outlet withing commuting distance, if one has been accepted into the program. WSU may provide partial relocation expenses. Fellows likely will need their own car to perform their duties though a host partner in an urban environment might not require one, depending on beat.

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 at least two hours per week in training and professional development outside of their commitment to the news outlet. Most of the 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.