The 19th, an independent, nonprofit newsroom covering how gender, politics, and policy intersect, recently announced the Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Fellowship Program to improve equity in journalism.
Funded by Michelle Mercer and Bruce Golden, the $3.8 million program will each year offer five recent graduates and mid-career alumni of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) full-year, salaried, benefits-included fellowships in reporting, editing, audience engagement, or newsroom technology.
Fellows will also receive advisory support from Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones, Howard University's Knight Chair in Race and Journalism, and Howard University's Center for Journalism and Democracy.
"I have not typically supported newsroom fellowships because I have not felt that news organizations have demonstrated a real commitment to using these fellowships to make lasting change in the industry by ensuring fellows get the support, experience, guidance, and assistance necessary to turn fellowships into full-time reporting jobs," said Hannah-Jones. "But this fellowship is unlike any I have seen in the industry. That is why I am so excited to support this work, which aligns with the goals of the Center for Journalism and Democracy that I am building at Howard University."
The fellowship will include on-the-job training and mentorship to help fellows with their job placement afterwards. Fellows will receive a minimum salary of $70,000 and all other benefits of full-time employees, including health insurance, paid time off, and a 401(K) plan.
"I am a product of a fellowship program that gave me the training, the resources, and the confidence to tell stories about my community. Without that foundational opportunity, I would not be the journalist I am today," said Errin Haines, The 19th's editor-at-large. "What we aim to do with this exciting and essential new program is to help create the newsrooms we want to see in this industry: diverse, talented, and reflective of the world around them."
Applications are scheduled to open in mid-2022 with the first class of fellows joining in September 2022. The 19th will soon announce more information on how to apply.