Announcing the Fall 2018 RJI Student Innovation Fellowships


Q. What is an RJI Student Innovation Fellowship?

A. The Reynolds Journalism Institute is partnering with leading news organizations to support Missouri School of Journalism students who work 30 hours per week on-site during the spring and fall semesters on new storytelling techniques, audience engagement strategies, delivery platforms, revenue opportunities and the like.

Q. What do the fellows receive?

A. Each fellow receives a total stipend amount of $4,000 from RJI and the partnering organization to help defray the costs of living and working off-campus for a semester. The stipend is typically paid in monthly installments of $1,000.

Q. Who are the Fall 2018 partners?

A. Four innovative news organizations are offering fellowships next semester.

  • Mic (NYC) — Mic seeks to give voice to critical news stories from modern and diverse perspectives while maintaining high standards for original reporting. The recipient of this fellowship will assist the Mic product team in creating better tools for reporting and in helping users get Mic’s stories daily and weekly using a wide range of possible form factors.
  • PolitiFact (DC) — PolitiFact is one of the country’s pre-eminent fact-checking sites and home to the Truth-O-Meter. It rates the political claims of national, state and local officials. The RJI Student Innovation Fellow will work in the Washington bureau to produce multimedia-infused fact-checks for the PolitiFact website and social channels.
  • ABC News (DC) — The ABC News Washington Bureau is the prime producer of political journalism for the network. The fellow will work with bureau reporters, anchors and producers on stories including the 2018 mid-term elections.
  • The Seattle Times — The Times remains a family-owned business deeply rooted in the community and committed to principled, investigative news coverage.  The fellow will assist with one or more community engagement experiments.

Q. Do I qualify for a fellowship?

A. Each fellowship has different responsibilities and job skills. In addition, undergraduate students must be juniors or seniors. Graduate students must be prepared to use the fellowship to satisfy their professional project.

Q. How do I maintain full-time student status?

A. Fellows working in New York or Washington will enroll in the School of Journalism’s New York or Washington program and attend a three-hour seminar course each week in addition to working with their sponsoring news organization. Grad students receive nine hours of credit for their professional project. Undergrads may receive three hours of capstone credit as well as independent study or internship credit for their work. Enrollment in online courses, if necessary to fulfill graduation requirements, is also allowed. See your adviser for details.

Q. If I’m an undergraduate heading into my final semester, can I do this and still graduate in December?

A. Probably, though it depends on the course credits you still need in order to complete your degree requirements.  Please apply.  If you are selected, we’ll work with you to make graduation possible.

Q. If I’m a grad student, do I qualify for a tuition waiver?

A. Yes.

Q. Who supervises my work?

A. Each newsroom assigns a supervisor/mentor. In addition, RJI’s associate director and the director of our New York or Washington program communicate regularly with you and the newsroom to ensure the fellowship is a success.

Q. What am I required to do?

A. In addition to 30 hours of newsroom work, students attend a weekly seminar and produce an end-of-project report written for RJI’s audience of media professionals and others concerned with the future of journalism. This report may take several forms — a how-to guide, blog post, white paper, podcast or a multimedia story — worked out in conjunction with the partner and RJI’s communications team. Other requirements for capstone or professional project credit will also apply. Check with the appropriate course instructor for details.

Q. How are the RJI Student Innovation Fellows chosen?

A. RJI’s associate director, along with a small group of faculty selected for each project, will screen applications and choose two finalists per fellowship. A representative from the partnering newsroom will interview the finalists and choose a winner.

Q. How do I apply?

A. Send to RJI Associate Director Mike McKean a resume and cover letter that identifies which fellowship(s) you are applying for and why you would make a great representative for RJI and the Missouri School of Journalism. The application deadline is Friday, April 20th, at 5 p.m. CST. You will be notified by email about interview times. We anticipate choosing winners before the end of the spring semester.

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