Friday, October 25, 2013

2014 Carnegie-Knight News21 program deadline Nov. 10

The deadline for nominations to the 2014 Carnegie-Knight News21 program is Nov. 10.

Students accepted into this nationally acclaimed program, sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, receive an unparalleled experience working one-on-one with some of the best journalism minds in the country on in-depth and digitally innovative projects. Over the past four years, their work has received unprecedented national distribution and recognition, including page one stories in The Washington Post and top display on as well as in many other news publications and websites.

Past News21 fellows have an employment placement record - both qualitatively and quantitatively - that is far superior to both the national averages and the placements of peers within their institutions. But we strongly believe that the program benefits far more than the individual students who participate. Schools that have been part of News21, with its emphasis on meaningful, in-depth reporting and experiential learning, have found the program a helpful tool in moving their curricula forward and promoting innovation.

We will be accepting a limited number of fellows for the coming program, which will begin in January of 2014 with a virtual seminar taught by one of the leading editors of our time: Leonard Downie Jr., longtime editor of The Washington Post. The seminar will immerse students in an important and timely topic – gun ownership in the United States, with a particular view of lobbying efforts on gun legislation and varying practices and policies in key states. We will make arrangements with students so they can follow the seminar remotely. Although students can take the seminar without charge (and without receiving formal academic credit unless their schools decide to allow independent study credit), students are expected to complete the seminar to Professor Downie's satisfaction before moving into the 10-week summer fellowship experience. During the summer reporting program, students will work out of a state-of-the-art digital newsroom at the Cronkite School in downtown Phoenix, traveling throughout the country as needed for the project.

All program costs are covered except $10,000 in salary and travel stipend for each fellow, which is covered by the participating school. Schools may nominate more than one fellow. Fellows for the 2013 project came from 12 universities: ASU, Central Michigan University, Florida International University, University of Florida, Kent State University, University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, University of Oklahoma, University of Oregon and University of Texas. Many of these fellows received additional support from a range of philanthropies and foundations that The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the Peter Kiewit Foundation of Omaha, Neb., and Women & Philanthropy, part of ASU’s Foundation for a New American University.

You can find more about the 2014 News21 program and the application process at Applications are due by Nov. 10, and we will notify schools of placements by Dec. 1.

I also recommend that you take a look at the extremely impressive 2013 project on post-9/11 veterans ( It has gotten widespread attention around the country and prominent play in many major national publications and I think is our best News21 project yet.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me, News21 administrator Kristin Gilger (

Thank you for your interest.

Kristin Gilger
Associate Dean
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Unpaid Internship? No thank you.

If you want me to post your internship, it had better be paid. Otherwise, I won't promote it. I also won't recommend any students work for your company. Period.

Why? Simple. The more I research unpaid internships, the more I discover they offer little value to the student. In the cases where they do, the student was typically worked to the bone doing the job of a full-time employee -- sometimes more than one -- for no compensation other than "experience." I call that slave labor. It's unethical. It's immoral. And in most cases, it's illegal. A court ruling over the summer may end them once and for all. But it will take time.

In the meantime, I continually hear from my own students and students who follow my Twitter feed that their unpaid internships were brutal, exhausting, and frequently offered little supervision or training. One student who worked in an unpaid internship this past summer told me he wrote eight stories a week for the newspaper. He never once received feedback from the editor. He had to drive his own car to assignments without reimbursement for gas. And he was expected to pay for parking for the privilege of college credit -- for which he was also paying -- with nothing else in return. Yes, he says he got a ton of clips, but he also worked 45 hours a week. And when his internship ended, the small-town paper (which I won't name, but probably should, because the editor their won't call me back to confirm this) then advertised for a full-time paid reporter to replace him. In essence, the paper used him as free labor over the summer to fill an open position, and when his 10-week internship ended, they filled the void. They should have paid him. I told him to sue. He wants to forget about it.

More and more of these stories are cropping up in the news. And most of the time, it's because corporate greed outweighs doing the right thing.

I've decided I can no longer morally support unpaid internships. And I won't. Students, I'm sorry, but if you want one, you will have to find them through another source.