Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship

Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship

Launch your career in journalism

The yearlong Poynter-Koch Media & Journalism Fellowship is designed specifically for aspiring and entrepreneurial journalists to refine their storytelling skills and accelerate their careers in media. Unique and central to the media fellowship program is understanding the crucial role of free speech and a free press in our society.

As a fellow, you will be employed by participating organizations and simultaneously immersed in world-class curriculum to develop your professional skills.


Qualified applicants must demonstrate a passion to work as a journalist. We are looking for a diverse range of journalists including but not limited to reporters, editors, photojournalists, broadcast journalists, and producers. All fellows must agree to work for a participating organization during the duration of the fellowship. All fellows must be eligible to work in the United States.

Selection Timeline

Application Opens — November 2019

Application Deadline — February 2020

Fellowship Class Announced — May 2020

Program Begins — June 2020

Media and Journalism Fellowship Program at a Glance

  • 33

    Class Size

  • $44,000

    Average Salary

Benefits of being selected as a Poynter-Koch Fellow

A full-time job.

Hone your skills as a media or creative professional through a new or existing opportunity with a media company, publication, or non-profit organization. Salary is commensurate with work experience and educational background, but the average salary is $52,000.

Professional networking.

Build a cross-country cohort of 45 individuals through weekly classes and networking summits. After the program, you’ll join a network of over 3,000 educational program alumni, including Koch-program alumni who have been featured in Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list of future leaders.

Robust curriculum.

Engage with faculty and other participants to understand the role you play in supporting free speech and a free press through hands-on training. The curriculum includes three in-person summits, online webinars every week, one-on-one mentoring, and elective projects.

Mentorship and presentations from industry experts.

Learn from seasoned industry leaders from newsrooms like NBC, CNN, ABC, FOXSports.com, Washington Examiner, Yahoo Tech, CBS, and The Poynter Institute.

What you’ll experience as a fellow

As a member of the journalism fellowship program, your average week will be focused on the hands-on experience provided by your participating organization and enhanced through the skills you’ll gain through our online programming. In years past, publications where participants were picked up have included The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Playboy, and USA Today.

Classes are led by our talented faculty as well as industry professionals and media experts with a curriculum that includes:

  • Lectures & case studies.
  • Speaker series with leaders in media & journalism.
  • Core professional skills.
  • Peer working groups.
  • Independent & group projects.
  • Mentorship opportunities.
  • Electives such as storytelling, pitching, podcasting, investigative journalism, script writing, and analytics.

Media and Journalism Fellowship participants

I had the opportunity to work with a uniquely interesting and talented set of peers through the Media and Journalism Fellowship (MJF)… I regularly see comedy videos, well-reported stories, television appearances, op-eds and even thoughtful podcasts produced by fellows from my MJF class. It’s very inspiring to see all of the ways that MJF fellows are contributing to a better public dialogue.

Erin Clark, 2017 – 2018 fellow with RealClear

Meet your faculty

Throughout the year, you will learn from experienced faculty and adjunct faculty, expert guest speakers, and other fellows in your program. The lead faculty members for the 2019-20 program are:

Tim McCaughan, Senior Manager of Media Programs at the Charles Koch Institute

Tim McCaughan joined CKI following 25 years of experience in media. During two decades at CNN, McCaughan directed the White House unit as its Senior Supervising Producer, covering three U.S. Presidents and traveling to more than 40 countries and all 50 states. He was also Managing Editor of CNN.com’s top-performing vertical, the Political Ticker. He has been recognized with numerous national awards for his work.

Steve Bien-Aimé, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Northern Kentucky University

Bien-Aimé teaches journalism in the College of Informatics’ Department of Communication. His research interests include race and gender portrayals in sports and news media. Prior to receiving his doctorate from the College of Communications at Penn State, Bien-Aimé worked as a copy editor at The News Journal in Delaware and The Baltimore Sun and served in a variety of functions at FOXSports.com in Los Angeles, departing as deputy NFL editor.

Adjunct faculty members have included:

  • Kelly McBride, The Poynter Institute, Senior Vice President
  • Dan Lothian, Former NBC National Correspondent; Former CNN White House Correspondent; Little Park Media, Founder
  • Ashley Messenger, NPR, Senior Associate General Counsel
  • Rob Wallace, ABC News and CBS News, award-winning Producer and Senior Producer; Nxtact, Founder
  • Jamie McIntyre, Former CNN National Security Correspondent; Washington Examiner, National Security Reporter

Guest speakers have included:

  • Eric Schurenberg, Mansueto Ventures, CEO; INC., former President and Editor-in-Chief
  • Jason Riley, The Wall Street Journal, Columnist
  • Ren LaForme – The Poynter Institute
  • Al Tompkins – The Poynter Institute
  • David Bohrman – Founder, Political Voices Network
  • Nicholas Whitaker – Training and Development Manager, Google
  • Amanda Muñoz – Strategic Partner Development, Political Publishers, Facebook
  • Chris Temple, Documentary Filmmaker and Co-Founder of Living on One
  • Kmele Foster, Freethink, Partner and Lead Producer
  • Lily Wu, KAKE Wichita Crime Reporter
  • Gabriella Schwarz – Managing Editor, Flipboard
  • Nick Gelso – CLNS Media
  • Adam Sharp, Twitter.

Liz Wolfe Managing Editor at Young Voices sharing during media and journalism fellowship

At a very young age—and because the Charles Koch Institute and Young Voices were both willing to take a chance on me—I was able to supervise 60+ writers and, eventually, a staff of two assistant editors… I also had plentiful resources provided to me as I navigated the awkward mix of being editor and manager fresh out of college: managing internal conflict, resolving ethical issues, and building trust with writers were all things made easier with the Media and Journalism Fellowship staff's help.

Liz Wolfe, 2017 – 2018 fellow with Young Voices

Curriculum Snapshot

Below is a sample of how the curriculum was executed for the 2018-19 fellowship:

Term 1: Role of Free Press in Society.

Enshrined in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, the First Amendment as applied to journalism gives certain rights and responsibilities to those publishing and broadcasting. Over this first term, fellows build a foundational knowledge of the laws that support journalism and free speech. They cover the fundamentals of libel, copyright, newsgathering, FOIA, access, and other practical issues.

Sample courses include the following: Libel, Copyright, Practical Issues in Media Law.

Term 2: Journalistic Ethics.

The Poynter Institute presents a workshop examining many of the ethical questions that arise for journalists and media professionals in their day-to-day work. Sessions focus on bias and ethical decision making, styles of ethical decision making, source relationships, and covering difficult and sensitive topics.

Sample courses include the following: Basics of Ethical Decision-making, Source Relationships, A Reporter’s Bias Checklist.

Term 3: Telling Powerful, Honest Stories.

Fellows acquire a solid foundation in the basics of fair, factual reporting. This core unit will cover how to vet sources, usage and licensing, seeking truth, and pitching. Featured speakers will accompany this unit and will discuss the basics of good writing and reporting, as well as finding original stories.

Fellows will also acquire a fundamental understanding of what makes for a compelling story. The course will cover the basics of good storytelling for all platforms, as well as more specific discussions of storytelling for platforms such as TV, digital, long-form, and opinion.

Sample courses include the following: The Components of a Story, So You Think You’re a Reporter?, The Big Interview.

Term 4: Having an Impact – Digital Media Intensive.

Fellows gain the practical skills and knowledge that anyone working in media today must possess. These include: how to leverage social media, how to write a compelling headline, how to use visuals to enhance a story, basic digital video shooting and editing, and how to effectively use Facebook. Fellows also receive a grounding in analytics to better understand their audiences.

Google provides fellows with an introduction to some of the many tools available to journalists on their platform, including training resources, best practices for search and research, using images, custom access to Google’s databases, data journalism, verification, and much more.

Fellows also learn what good reporting looks like in an online world. More than just employing the tools in previous lectures, fellows learn the judgement necessary in the world of social media as well as the skills to avoid wheel-spinning in the process.

Sample courses include the following: Digital Tools to Improve Your Newsroom, Reading Social.

Terms 5–7: Professional Skills Electives.

There are three elective terms, allowing fellows to diversify their skill sets and embrace their personal interests.

Sample electives include the following: Working Sources, The Analytics Firehose, Original Reporting, Video for Television and the Web, Writing for Digital.

Additional Resources

Educational programming students having a small group discussion.

Application Process

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students at Charles Koch Institute summer internship program


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