Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship 2021-22

DEADLINE TO APPLY: Applications closed
TEACHING DATES: June 2021-June 2022
LOCATION: Online and in-person
COST: Free

The Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship is a year-long dynamic experiential fellowship that blends educational opportunities with work experience to accelerate your career in journalism.

As a fellow, you’ll have the opportunity to find placement as a paid, full-time journalist at a participating news outlet, joining colleagues who are passionate about journalism and the critical role of the free press in society. You’ll learn from each other, on the job, and from a robust, real-world curriculum presented by seasoned, professional journalists.


  • Get a full-time job with one our participating news organizations throughout the United States
  • Gather with other fellows and instructors weekly to learn about and discuss today’s most pressing journalistic issues
  • Study a world-class curriculum that examines the crucial role of free expression and a free press in society
  • Learn from journalists working in newsrooms like The New York Times, NPR, The Dallas Morning News, NBC, ABC, CBS, The Miami Herald, Quartz, Yahoo Tech, Outlier Media, FOXSports.com and USA TODAY Network.
  • Meet with your dedicated mentor at least twice a month to focus on your professional development
  • Participate in a capstone project to test your journalistic skills and ability to lead
  • Attend three multi-day journalism summits designed specifically for your fellowship

Per Poynter’s Ethics Policy, Poynter maintains editorial independence regarding curriculum and content. The media and journalism fellowship relationship between Poynter and the Charles Koch Institute is a teaching partnership. A list of Poynter’s largest funders and teaching partners can be found here.

In-person and virtual workshops

Fellows gather weekly to engage in robust coursework, such as media training and workshops and discussions about today’s most pressing journalistic issues. Three times during the year you’ll join the other fellows and faculty for additional workshops and activities in-person at multi-day summits in Washington, D.C., and St. Petersburg, Florida (we are also prepared to host interactive online summits, pending health and travel guidelines).

Our participants — up to 60 per fellowship class — come from all over the United States. The news organizations they work for range from metropolitan dailies to local market television stations to digital enterprises. Fellows contribute their many unique perspectives to an ongoing dialogue over the future of journalism.

Areas of focus

  • Foundations of journalism: to understand how to execute fair and accurate reporting and storytelling
  • The craft of storytelling: to know how to move across beat structures to deepen storytelling ability and portfolio (features, profiles, commentary, data, investigations, etc.)
  • Audience engagement strategy: to become fluent in the language and execution strategies of audience engagement
  • Leadership & innovation: to understand the diversity of roles and voices that make a newsroom and all other communities tick while developing strategies to “lead from anywhere in the room”

See the participating organizations here.


Check out our FAQs. If you need assistance, email us at info@newsu.org or admissions@charleskochinstitute.org.

Important program dates

Application opens: Nov. 1, 2020
Application closes: Feb. 26, 2021
Fellowship class announced: June 1, 2021
Program begins: June 16, 2021
Program ends: May 2022

Program outline

We expect to update topics and presenters to best serve the needs of the current class of fellows.

Opening Three-day Summit (June) – Washington, DC

  • Term 1 — Guiding Principles: Truth
  • Term 2 – The Journalists Legal Toolkit
  • Term 3 – Guiding Principles: Transparency
  • Term 4 – Having an Impact: Innovation in a Digital Age
  • Term 5 – Guiding Principles: Community

Midyear Summit (December) – St. Petersburg, Florida

  • Term 6 and Term 7– Electives. Courses include: Podcasting, Investigative Journalism, Multiplatform Writing, Long-form Storytelling, Documentary, Analytics, Graphic Design, App Prototyping, Video Producing, Newsletter Writing, Media Training, Résumé Writing, Having Difficult Conversations.

Closing Summit (May) – Washington, DC

Who should apply

You should apply if you are passionate about journalism and telling inspiring stories, but you know there is more to learn and want to sharpen your skills. You’re a hard-worker and self-motivated. You understand the importance of free expression and the role of the press in society. You describe yourself as a life-long learner. You work well independently but also enjoy collaborating with others. You know there are media outlets that can benefit from your knowledge and skills.

Ideal candidates will have one to three years of experience in media and/or journalism.

Application process

Your next opportunity to participate in the Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship begins in Summer 2021, so apply now! The deadline to apply is Feb. 26, 2021.

The application is available online here.

The Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship believes that diversity in experiences, perspectives, knowledge and ideas fuels creativity, broadens knowledge, and helps drive success. Our admissions office treats all program participants and applicants with honesty, dignity, respect and sensitivity. We welcome all qualified applicants regardless of color, race, religion, religious creed, sex, gender or gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, ancestry, age, physical ability, mental ability, medical condition, pregnancy (including medical needs which may arise from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), military and veteran status, genetic information, marital or familial status, political affiliation, or any other legally recognized protected basis under federal, state or local laws, regulations or ordinances.


There is no application fee and there is no tuition. All travel and workshops are paid for by the program.

Accepted fellows will be compensated for their full-time work at participating news organizations from June to June of the next year. Your salary is negotiated by you with the employer/participating organization and is generally commensurate to experience. The fellowship program provides a salary stipend to the employer of 60 percent of salary up to a maximum award of $50,000 per fellow.


Lead Faculty

Samantha Ragland

Tim McCaughan
Senior Manager of Media Programs
Charles Koch Institute

Guest Instructors

  • Kat Stafford, National Race and Ethnicity Writer, Associated Press
  • Jeremy Caplan, Director of Teaching and Learning, CUNY’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism
  • Kim Brice, Resilience Trainer and Personal Coach, The Self-Investigation
  • Marlon A. Walker, Senior Investigations/Politics Editor, The Clarion-Ledger
  • Penny Riordan, Consultant
  • Margaret Holt, Standards Editor, Chicago Tribune
  • Brandon Mercer, Director of Ad Product, Hearst
  • Doris Truong, Director of Training and Diversity, Poynter
  • Steve Bien-Aime, Adjunct, Poynter

Adjunct Faculty

  • Kelly McBride, Senior Vice President, Poynter
  • Chris Sheridan, Former Media Executive at ESPN, CNBC, NBC and ABC
  • Ashley Messenger, Senior Associate General Counsel, NPR
  • Dan Lothian, Founder/President, Little Park Media