Frances Ellen Watkins Harper 19th News Fellowship Program 2022

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper 19th News Fellowship Program 2022

The 19th is launching its first formal fellowship program in 2022: the Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Fellowship. Named for the “mother of African American journalism,” the program — launched in partnership with Nikole Hannah-Jones, Howard University’s Knight chair in race and journalism — will provide recent graduates, mid-career alums and former students of Historically Black Colleges and Universities with full-year salaried and benefit-laden fellowships in the areas of reporting, editing, audience engagement and newsroom technology.

About the program

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Fellows will spend a year working in editorial, audience, product or technology roles with full-time salaries and benefits, made possible by the generous support of Michelle Mercer and Bruce Golden. Fellows will receive on-the-job training, mentorship and development opportunities. We’ll also provide job-placement assistance to prepare fellows for what comes next after their fellowship.

Fellowship tracks

We will be accepting five full-year fellows for our September 2022 cohort, including three editorial fellows, one audience engagement fellow and one product & technology fellow.

Fellows in the editorial track may learn how to:

  • Cover issues deeply through original reporting, researched context and nuanced framing.
  • Pitch stories they want to follow through the lens of equity and representation
  • Identify and develop areas of expertise within their reporting
  • Explore storytelling across digital platforms and in-person events
  • Center the voices and experiences of people on the margins, who are often affected the most at the intersections of gender and policy

Fellows in the audience engagement track may learn how to:

  • Find, pitch and report on audience-focused journalism projects, like our explainer on Texas’ abortion law that was based on reader questions or this KQED roundup of audience stories about COVID-19 shame
  • Engage audiences through alternative story formats, like virtual events or Instagram carousel explainers
  • Work with different roles across editorial and product teams to execute on audience engagement projects
  • Optimize and distribute journalism across platforms, such as site, search, social, and newsletters, to meet different audiences where they are
  • Craft accurate, compelling headlines, social and newsletter copy, and visuals on deadline
  • Use key newsroom platforms and tools to monitor real-time metrics and trending topics, schedule social media posts, and produce a website or newsletter

Fellows in the product and technology track may learn how to:

  • Design and conduct audience research to inspire and inform development of key journalism products, such as, newsletters and events
  • Analyze audience data to better understand their behavior and desires to help strengthen growth and engagement at each step of the audience funnel
  • Build a membership program and foster a community of people who want to financially support nonprofit journalism
  • Reach new communities through strategic partnerships, including partner evaluation, outreach and relationship building
  • Design intuitive and accessible user experiences
  • Create prototypes and conduct usability testing
  • Design graphics for social media, membership campaigns, newsletters and events
  • Art direct a diverse roster of illustrators and photographers
  • Use design thinking to generate product ideas that meet audience needs, align with our mission and advance business goals
  • Communicate goals and plans with stakeholders and triage their feedback
  • Collaborate with engineers to write requirements, test and ship products
  • Write a product vision and prioritize opportunities to develop a product roadmap

Who can apply

Eligible candidates should be any one of the following:
  • A recent graduate or mid-career alum of an Historically Black College or University
  • A graduating senior of an Historically Black College College or University with a graduation date prior to the anticipated fellowship start date of September 2022
  • An individual who attended an Historically Black College or University for at least two years, and either transferred or did not graduate

All applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States. This can include conditional student/work visas provided The 19th will not be required to take additional steps in sponsorship.

Eligible candidates should also have the following:

  • Some relevant experience in their chosen fellowship track
  • A genuine interest in growing their career in journalism
  • Alignment with our values and community guidelines

How to apply for the Frances Ellen Watkins Harper 19th News Fellowship Program 2022

We are now accepting applications for our 2022-23 fellowship class, which begins in September. The application will require you to select which fellowship track(s) you are interested in applying for. Make sure to read about each of the tracks first before submitting your application.

Click here to apply. Applications are due on May 31, 2022, at 5 p.m. CT (extended deadline)

Applicants will need the following to submit their application:

  • A cover letter explaining why you want to work at The 19th, and what impact this fellowship program would have on your career goals
  • Your résumé
  • Relevant samples of your work


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