The Perry and Alicia O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism at Marquette University began with Peter and Patricia Frechette’s commitment to uphold the future of in-depth news reporting.
The couple's $8.3 million gift honored Patricia’s parents, Marquette alumni Perry and Alicia O'Brien, and launched the fellowship in 2013 at Marquette's Diederich College of Communication with co-founder the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Every year, this Milwaukee-based Fellowship pairs professional reporters with Marquette journalism students on nine-month reporting projects aimed at holding American institutions accountable and uncovering potential solutions to difficult problems. Journal Sentinel often provides resources to and co-publishes O’Brien-backed projects.
In 2021, the Frechette Family Foundation announced an additional $5 million sustaining gift to the fellowship.
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In a world where the powerless are often overlooked, the O’Brien Fellowship aims to fight back. It gives reporters the tools they need to document inequity and give voice to the voiceless. Our goal is to contribute journalism that matters through determined, in-depth reporting that leaves no rock unturned.
Our fellows have probed issues such as climate change, racial injustice, mental illness, criminal justice, education and maternal health — and they continue to investigate hard-hitting issues every year.
Telling stories like these can change policy or even lives, which is why solutions-oriented public service journalism is so important. Student exposure to this type of reporting is also crucial to upholding its future.
That's the O'Brien difference.
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