What is the Allbritton Journalism Institute?
AJI aims to restore journalism’s role in our democracy by fostering a new generation of reporters, from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, who produce work that Americans trust. To accomplish this goal, we have created NOTUS, a new kind of D.C. publication. Think of it as a teaching hospital for journalism: a publication staffed both by some of the country’s best political journalists and by AJI Reporting Fellows — up-and-coming, early-career journalists who are chosen through an annual application process, and who work with, and learn from, their more established colleagues. The fellows are paid a stipend of $60,000 per year to take classes with AJI’s faculty while also reporting and writing for NOTUS. The first class of 10 fellows started in September 2023, and we will welcome a new class next September. The deadline to apply is March 4, 2024. Learn more below:
I am a…
- Potential Applicant to the AJI Reporting Fellowship
- Journalist Who Wants to Work with AJI
- Potential Donor
For Potential Applicants
What type of experience will this be?
The program begins with a four-week immersion course in the practical application of journalism skills, from ethics and newsgathering to writing and distribution. After four weeks, fellows balance ongoing classwork with their roles as reporters for NOTUS, where they cover Capitol Hill and other aspects of national policy and politics. The formal program runs for 18 months, after which fellows are invited to stay for an additional six months as we support them in seeking their next opportunity.
What makes this different from other journalism programs?
- Our classes are taught by top working professionals — reporters and editors for NOTUS, as well as journalists who write for other publications, including Tim Alberta of The Atlantic, DeNeen Brown and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post, and Pulitzer winner Wes Lowery. All of these journalists are engaged with the ever-evolving media landscape on a day-to-day basis and attuned to the best practices in journalism right now. Read more about our faculty here.
- Fellows are part of a real, working newsroom — one with time and capacity for learning and mentorship built in. This model allows fellows to learn journalism by practicing it at the highest level.
- We don’t charge our fellows to attend — we pay them the equivalent of an entry-level journalism salary, so that people from all economic backgrounds can participate.
Who is eligible to apply?
We are looking for applicants of all backgrounds who want to work in journalism; who have a keen interest in policy and politics; and who believe journalism can and should play a critical role in our democracy. Some fellows may be just out of school; others may be looking for a career transition; still others may be working journalists who are early in their careers. A passion for journalism is a prerequisite, but actual journalistic experience is not.
Where do you hope fellows will go after the program?
By the time they leave AJI in 18 months to two years, graduates will have the background necessary to cover the inner workings of Washington — and will be ready to take on reporting jobs at the country’s best outlets. Our staff will provide extensive support to fellows as they seek jobs at other publications. Our goal is for every AJI fellow to go on to a high-impact job in journalism — in D.C. or anywhere in the United States.
Where does the fellowship take place?
When will it start?
The 2024 program will begin in September 2024.
So I will get paid while I do this?
How much again?
$60,000 per year.
Are benefits included?
Yes, fellows are eligible for health insurance and other benefits, including paid time off.
Where do fellows live?
Fellows are responsible for making their own living and commuting arrangements in the Washington, D.C., area.
I’ve never been to D.C. before. How will I figure out the move?
We know that taking a new job in a new city can present plenty of challenges. Our student coordinator, Dianna Heitz, works with fellows on all aspects of the relocation process. We also offer fellows $1,500 to help defray moving costs.
Can I attend remotely?
No. The AJI Reporting Fellowship is an in-person experience.
Is this program accredited? Will I get a degree or certificate?
This is not a degree or certificate program. It is focused on building real-world skills and experience.
Will you run the program every year?
Yes! We will welcome a new class annually.
Who are the current fellows and what do they think of the program?
Who is behind this and why are they doing it?
The Allbritton Journalism Institute is a non-profit organization backed by a $20 million grant from Robert Allbritton, the founding publisher of Politico. The Institute’s leadership and teaching faculty are veteran journalists whose work has appeared in top national publications. Like Robert Allbritton, they care deeply about restoring journalism’s critical role in our national conversation while expanding opportunities for aspiring journalists with different backgrounds and beliefs.
How do I apply?
What is the application timeline?
The application is due by 11:59 p.m. EST on March 4.
What is the application process like?
We plan to review applications in March and April, selecting a group of finalists to interview. We expect to tell all applicants in April whether they are moving on to the interview round. And we expect to complete interviews and notify finalists of our decisions in May.
Will there be any information sessions about the fellowship?
Yes! A Zoom information session for potential applicants will take place on Thursday, February 22, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET. It will be an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of AJI staff and current fellows. RSVP here.
What if I have questions or need more information?
Reach out to us at email@example.com.
For Journalists Who Want to
Work with AJI
I’m an established journalist and interested in getting involved. What would my role be?
There are a few paths for experienced reporters and editors looking to be part of what we’re building. One is a part-time role as a member of the AJI faculty: teaching and mentoring AJI fellows while continuing to publish elsewhere.
Another path is working full-time for AJI. The journalists who are on staff full-time work as teachers and mentors as well as reporters and editors. We aim to be a place where established reporters and editors will have a chance to develop the next generation of journalists while having the time, space and support to publish the best work of their own careers.
Who should I contact?
- If you’re interested in a part-time teaching role, contact director of teaching and learning Andie Coller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you’re interested in a full-time role, contact managing editors Matt Berman and Kate Nocera at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- And if you have any other questions about AJI or NOTUS, contact executive director and editor-in-chief Tim Grieve at email@example.com.
For Potential Donors
What problem is AJI setting out to fix?
America’s journalism-training model is broken. Thousands of local newspapers have shut down in recent years. That means the jobs where young journalists traditionally trained for their careers — reporter positions at local newspapers — have largely gone away. Meanwhile, graduate programs in journalism are expensive, and therefore mostly unrealistic for students who aren’t from wealthy backgrounds or who don’t want to borrow money.
No wonder the press corps doesn’t look like America — and, as a result, so many Americans distrust the press. No wonder the media is struggling to play its role as a defender of democracy. No wonder both American journalism and American democracy are in grave peril.
What is AJI doing about this problem?
AJI, a Virginia nonstock corporation and a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity, has created a powerful new model to fix the broken market in journalism training: an institute that functions as a teaching hospital for journalism — a newsroom where early-career journalists learn on the job while taking classes with some of the best reporters and editors in the country.
So how does this work exactly?
Since the old training-ground publications are gone, we created our own. Local and regional papers were great places to start a career because they presented young journalists with the opportunity to work alongside, and learn from, seasoned professionals. Our publication, NOTUS, gives fellows those same opportunities — with one major improvement: Rather than serving as an eventual stepping-stone to D.C. reporting, this publication immediately puts fellows in the thick of covering the highest levels of American politics.
In addition to learning on the job, our fellows have the opportunity to study in a classroom setting with journalists who are simply the best at what they do. From Tim Alberta of The Atlantic, to DeNeen Brown and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post, to Pulitzer winner Wes Lowery — and many more — our faculty, mentors and editors are working journalists who are currently at the top of the profession.
Moreover, by offering fellows a $60,000 annual stipend, and by recruiting systematically at colleges and universities nationwide — instead of just waiting for applications from students at the usual elite institutions — we ensured that the first class of AJI fellows was extraordinarily diverse: socioeconomically, geographically, educationally and ideologically.
What are the results so far?
Our first class of fellows describe AJI as an “awesome opportunity” that is “truly unique,” “a chance to be sharpened by journalists at the top of the game.” AJI faculty and editors, says one fellow, “have invested so much time in me individually, something that editors in big newsrooms simply do not have the capacity to do.” You can read detailed testimonials here.
What would you do with more resources?
A $20 million grant from Robert Allbritton has allowed AJI to launch with 10 slots for fellows annually. But training just 10 journalists per year won’t save journalism — and it won’t save American democracy. We have bigger ambitions for AJI: We want to bring our model to scale. With more resources, we can provide a pathway into journalism for many more aspiring journalists — ensuring that a new generation of smart, idealistic, diverse, experienced journalists will step forward to report the truth and defend democracy.
Who can I contact to learn more about contributing?
If you’re interested in supporting credible, non-partisan journalism and helping educate a new generation of reporters to produce it, please contact AJI Executive Director Tim Grieve at firstname.lastname@example.org.