Take The Time To Do Journalism That Matters

O'Brien logoO'Brien Fellows spend nine months reporting stories with the power to compel change.

Ashley Nguyen, 2020-21 O’Brien Fellow

"O'Brien offers me the time and space to dig into one topic and establish richer relationships with sources. Plus, I'm not doing it alone! I have two interns to help me sort through information and conduct interviews."

Backed by Marquette University, the O'Brien Fellowship 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. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is a co-founder and partner. 

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The Latest O'Brien-Backed Journalism

  • Youth Sports Safety
  • "Essential" Birth Workers
  • Sexual Assault Investigations

Youth Sports Safety

O'Brien Fellow Tim Bannon and O'Brien interns found that as the industry becomes more elite, many lower-income families are struggling to pay for youth sports. COVID-19 may also be worsening the economic divide.

 Youth Sports Safety

 Photo by EBONY COX/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Essential" Birth Workers

Current O'Brien Fellow Ashley Nguyen and her reporting interns investigated the slew of barriers to Medicaid reimbursement that doulas, or "essential" maternal healthcare providers, face. 

Doula Roberta Eaglehorse-Ortiz 

 Photo by WESLEY LAPOINTE for The Lily

From 'Hero to Zero'

2019-20 O'Brien Fellow Katelyn Ferral revealed that Guard units have buried sexual assault allegations, withheld crucial documents from victims and retaliated against the women who have come forward. She reported for The Capital Times in conjuction with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

 Teresa James


A Unique Journalism Fellowship

  • Report and produce an in-depth public service journalism project on a regional, national or international topic.
  • Receive a $70,000 salary stipend and additional support.
  • Fellows traditionally are in residence, but we are now taking remote or partial remote applications along with full-residency arrangements. The O’Brien newsroom is housed at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication near downtown Milwaukee and the Lake Michigan shore.
  • Publish or broadcast the project through your home news organization or, in the case of independent journalists, another outlet.
  • Integrate Marquette’s best journalism students into your projects as reporters and researchers.
  • Help identify a journalism student for a university-funded summer internship at your news organization or other publisher.

Marquette University challenges students and staff to “be the difference” in improving the community. The Catholic and Jesuit institution has educated journalists for 100 years.

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