Investigative Journalism Fellow

Posted On: November 15, 2019


Media Organization: The O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism

Company Description

Backed by Marquette University and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, O'Brien helps news professionals dig deep while mentoring student journalists.

The program honors Marquette alumni Alicia and Perry O'Brien. Their daughter, Patricia Frechette, and her husband, Peter, donated $8.3 million in 2012 to create the fellowship. In this photo, Kathy Tenhula (left) and Kristy Woolfolk (right) attend a conference of the O'Brien Fellowship funded by their parents.

Job Description

Investigative Reporting Fellow
The O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism
Program at a glance: 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, overlooked stumbling blocks facing schools, exploitation of undocumented workers, national homicide trends, a failed mental health system, the dangers of diacetyl, climate change, and more.
O’Brien fellows take up residence in Milwaukee, travel domestically or overseas as needed, and write from offices in the O’Brien suite in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. Fellows receive full funding for salary, travel and research. Each works with a team of top Marquette journalism students on their project.
After the fellowship, O’Brien sends a university-funded summer intern to each fellow’s news organization. The fellowship then hosts a conference spotlighting the work of each fellow.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel partners on many of the projects. Former Journal Sentinel investigative reporter Dave Umhoefer, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is director of the fellowship.

Applicants must have at least five years of professional experience and produce journalism regularly as an employee or freelancer. Applicants may have experience with newspapers, radio, television, online publications, film production, wire services, or magazines of general interest. There are no academic prerequisites.

* A stipend totaling $65,000, with health insurance and benefits if the fellow’s employer does not provide them.
* An allowance of up to $8,000 for travel, technology, research and equipment for project-related expenses.
* A residency allowance based on family requirements for fellows moving to the Milwaukee metropolitan area.
* A moving allowance between $2,000 and $4,000 depending on family size and distance.

Selection criteria:
* A proposal to produce a rigorous, multimedia journalism project with the potential to have major impact, and investigate and explain how individuals and groups can identify responses to social problems.
* The ability to complete the project during the fellowship, and 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 review all applications. The committee will offer recommendations to the dean of the College of Communication for final selection.

Contact information:
O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism
Johnston Hall, 102
1131 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Dave Umhoefer
(414) 288-5956

To Apply

Accepting applications Dec. 1, 2019 through Jan. 20, 2020. For more information see our website: