Reporters from around the country have used the O’Brien Fellowship to produce great investigative projects annually since 2013. Their journalism has examined deaths of mentally ill inmates in America’s jails, stumbling blocks facing schools, exploitation of undocumented workers, fights over public forestland, national homicide trends, a failed mental health system, the dangers of diacetyl, climate change, and more.
Reporters typically take up residence in Milwaukee, travel as needed, and write from offices in the O’Brien suite in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. They are supported by student researchers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and faculty. Preference will be given to applicants who plan to live in the Milwaukee area.
Details are below. For more information see the O’Brien website, application page and contact O’Brien Director David Umhoefer via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), text (414) 550-3893 or phone (414) 288-5956.
Staff-employed or independent journalists welcome. Applicants should have at least five years of professional experience and produce journalism regularly as an employee or freelancer. Applicants may be connected to print operations, radio, television, websites, podcasts, online publications, wire services, or magazines of general public interest. There are no academic prerequisites.
Applications from international journalists are welcome.
Stipend and Benefits
A stipend of $70,000 for nine months for your salary, paid to your sponsoring organization, or directly to the fellow in the case of independent journalists.
A residency allowance based on family requirements for fellows moving to the Milwaukee metropolitan area for the duration of the fellowship: up to $4,000 for a single, married or partnered fellow, up to $6,000 for a fellow with one child, up to $7,000 for a fellow with two children, up to $8,000 for a fellow with three or more children. Fellows submit rent receipts from the rental property owner. The allowance is paid in equal monthly installments over the course of the fellowship.
A moving allowance based on family size and distance. The allowance, covering the move to and from Milwaukee, ranges from $2,000 to $4,000 in total. (Fellows from the Milwaukee metropolitan area are not eligible for a moving allowance.)
A travel and research allowance up to $8,000. This covers project-related travel as well as technology, data and document costs and equipment needs.
Employee benefits continue to be paid by the fellow’s employer, where applicable. Please contact us if you have questions on this.
Selection and Criteria
A proposal to produce a rigorous, multimedia public service journalism project with the potential to have major impact, lead to significant reform, and investigate and explain how individuals and groups can identify creative solutions to social problems.
The ability to complete the project during the fellowship using Milwaukee as your primary home.
The ability to integrate Marquette students as part of a reporting team.
The capacity to ensure the greatest possible exposure for the reporting once completed.
An advisory committee consisting of distinguished journalists and Marquette faculty and alumni will interview candidates for O’Brien fellowships in Feb. 2021 from a pool of finalists recommended by College of Communication journalism faculty.
Following those interviews, the advisory committee will send a list of recommended fellows to the dean of the Diederich College of Communication for final review.
3 openings. Employer will assist with relocation costs.
Additional Salary Information: To be paid over a period of nine months
About O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism
The O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism at Marquette University helps reporters dig into a national, state or regional story of their choice for nine months. Since 2013, reporters from around the country have used the O’Brien Fellowship to produce great investigative journalism projects. Their journalism has examined water pollution, deaths of mentally ill inmates in America’s jails, overlooked stumbling blocks facing schools, exploitation of undocumented workers, homicides, a failed mental health system and more.