Welcome to the O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism

Frechette SistersO’Brien Fellows spend nine months reporting stories with the power to compel change.

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.

O'Brien is accepting applications from Dec. 1, 2019 – Jan. 20, 2020, and will select three to five journalists to complete in-depth projects.


O'Brien Sampler

Jailed in Crisis

In an award-winning series, Gary Harki of The Virginian-Pilot and his O’Brien student intern team did the first national count of deaths of jail inmates with mental illness, uncovering disturbing patterns.

Jailed in Crisis

Portraits from Rural Wisconsin

In the first feature-length film backed by O'Brien, television producer Andy Soth and his team of O'Brien student interns created "Portraits from Rural Wisconsin," an examination of rural issues in politically changing counties. 


A Unique Journalism Fellowship

As an O'Brien Fellow, you will have the chance to:

  • Report and produce an in-depth public service journalism project on a regional, national or international topic.
  • Receive a $65,000 salary stipend and additional support.
  • Work from the new O’Brien suite 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 organization after the fellowship.
  • Tap into training in advanced investigative reporting skills such as data analysis.

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.

APPLY TO THE O’BRIEN FELLOWSHIP