When I was in college, I was lucky enough to land one of the few paid internships available. I interned at CNN for their morning shows, heading into the Manhattan office at midnight— sometimes after working eight hours at my job at a bank. My shift usually ended at 8 a.m., after which I would head to my 10 a.m. class.
It was certainly difficult—and exhausting—juggling a full-time course load, an internship, and working 30 hours a week. The internship gave me valuable experience and the connections to get my foot in the door at my first post-grad job. But I wouldn’t have been able to do the internship if it was unpaid, which is the case for many students who come from low-income backgrounds. Taking an unpaid internship at the expense of working is not practical or economically possible, leaving them at a disadvantage for a career in journalism down the road.
At this challenging time for the news industry, the Google News Initiative is launching its Fall fellowship program to ensure that students don’t have to choose between supporting themselves and pursuing their future careers. We launched the fellowship program in 2013 in North America for students interested in working at the intersection of technology, media, and journalism. The program has since expanded into 12 regions around the world.
Lack of internship and fellowship opportunities contributes to why many U.S. newsrooms don’t reflect the communities they cover. Less than a quarter of newsroom employees identify as a person of color, compared to the U.S. population (24 percent). When it comes to newsroom leadership, the number is even lower. This has significant consequences: a 2014 study found that a majority of African-American and Latino news consumers didn’t trust the way their communities were portrayed in the media. With protests occurring around the U.S. due to police brutality and racial injustice, a diverse newsroom is even more essential to produce balanced, comprehensive and representative news coverage.
With the help of the National Newspapers Publishers Association, the National Association of Hispanic Publishers, and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, we’ve designed the fall program to address the barriers of access that students and graduates of color face when trying to get into the industry.
The 10 to 12 week program is paid and selected fellows will also receive a travel stipend. All fellows, who will have the opportunity to work remotely, will be selected by nine host newsrooms: Eugene Weekly, Houston Press, Isthmus, al Día en America, La Noticia, Vida Newspaper, the Washington Informer, the Omaha Star and the NNPA Newsroom. Fellows will have the opportunity to work on editorial, revenue, and technology projects at the host publications.
Applications close August, 1, 2020 at midnight Pacific Time. For full application requirements, visit the fellowship website here.