Applications for the 2021-22 academic-year O'Brien fellowships open in December 2020.
This is a reporting fellowship. If you are looking for a sabbatical, this is not the program for you.
O’Brien fellows will leave after an academic year with a world-class project on a topic of state, regional, national or international interest. See the Our Work section of our website for examples of the journalism produced by past fellows.
Fellows are expected to:
- Work and travel from a home base in the O’Brien suite in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Fellows live in Milwaukee.
- Mentor and team with top Marquette journalism students in the pursuit of an investigative or explanatory journalism project.
Applicants should have at least five years of professional experience and produce journalism regularly as an employee or freelancer. Applicants may be connected to print operations, radio, television, websites, podcasts, online publications, wire services, or magazines of general public interest. There are no academic prerequisites.
Applications from international journalists are welcome.
Stipend and Benefits
A stipend of $65,000 for nine months for your salary, paid to your sponsoring organization, or directly to the fellow in the case of independent journalists.
- A residency allowance based on family requirements for fellows moving to the Milwaukee metropolitan area for the duration of the fellowship: up to $4,000 for a single, married or partnered fellow, up to $6,000 for a fellow with one child, up to $7,000 for a fellow with two children, up to $8,000 for a fellow with three or more children. Fellows submit rent receipts from the rental property owner.
- A moving allowance based on family size and distance. The allowance, covering the move to and from Milwaukee, ranges from $2,000 to $4,000 in total. (Fellows from the Milwaukee metropolitan area are not eligible for a moving allowance.)
- A travel and research allowance up to $8,000. This covers project-related travel as well as technology, data and document costs and equipment needs.
- Employee benefits continue to be paid by the fellow’s employer, where applicable. Please contact us if you have questions on this.
- Fellows and their spouses are eligible during the fellowship for tuition remission (up to seven credits) for courses offered by Marquette University.
Selection and Criteria
A proposal to produce a rigorous, multimedia public service journalism project with the potential to have major impact, lead to significant reform, and investigate and explain how individuals and groups can identify creative solutions to social problems.
The ability to complete the project during the fellowship using Milwaukee as your primary home.
The ability to integrate Marquette students as part of a reporting team.
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 interview candidates for O’Brien fellowships in Feb. 2020 from a pool of finalists recommended by College of Communication journalism faculty.
Following those interviews, the advisory committee will send a list of recommended fellows to the dean of the Diederich College of Communication for final review.
How to Complete Your Application
Method 1 (Preferred)
We provide space in our official online application form for you to link to your supporting files from a file sharing service such as Dropbox or Google Drive, or from your personal or company’s website. This allows us to view your materials online. This is our preference.
If you are unable to send us a link to your materials, you may email them to us at email@example.com with the subject "O’Brien Application Materials: Your Name."
As a last resort, we will accept physical copies of materials at the mailing address below. These materials won't be returned to you. Please call us before sending them.
Contact Dave Umhoefer, O’Brien Fellowship Director, at (414) 288-5956 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.