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2021-22 Reporting Fellow

O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism

Contact Name: Dave Umhoefer

Contact Phone: 4142885956

Contact Email:


Reporters from around the country have partnered with the O’Brien Fellowship to produce great investigative/explanatory projects annually since 2013.

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.

For nine months, O’Brien Fellows typically take up residence in Milwaukee, travel domestically or overseas as needed, and work mainly from offices in the O’Brien suite in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. However, due to COVID-19, we are now taking remote or partial remote applications along with full-residency arrangements. Fellows receive funding for salary, travel, research and housing. Each works with a team of Marquette journalism students on their project.

After the fellowship, O’Brien sends a university-funded summer intern to each fellow’s news organization.

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.

Application deadline and information:

Accepting applications December 1, 2020 through January 23, 2021. For more information see our homepage and application page. The fellowship starts in mid-August and ends in mid-May.


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, podcasts, wire services, or magazines of general interest. There are no academic prerequisites.


* A stipend of $70,000 paid over nine months.

* An allowance of up to $4,000 for reporting travel and another $4,000 for 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 identify responses to social problems.

* The capacity to fully integrate, mentor and coach Marquette journalism students assigned to your project.

* 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.

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