O’Brien Fellows complete an in-depth reporting project of their choosing on a topic of state, regional, national or international interest over two academic semesters. See the Our Work section of our website for examples of the journalism produced by past fellows.
- In the past, most Fellows have worked from a home base in the O’Brien newsroom in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Due to COVID-19 we are accepting applications for remote, partial residency and full residency arrangements.
- Mentor and team with top Marquette journalism students in the pursuit of an investigative or explanatory journalism project.
Staff-employed or independent journalists welcome. 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 $70,000 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. The allowance is paid in equal monthly installments over the course of the fellowship.
- 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.
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.