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Frances Ellen Watkins Fellowship 2024-25 Programme

Applications for Frances Ellen Watkins Fellowship 2024-25 Programme is now open until May 31, 2024, at 5 p.m. CT.

About the program

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Fellows will spend a year working in reporting, audience engagement, product or technology roles with full-time salaries and benefits, made possible by the generous support of Michelle Mercer and Bruce Golden. Fellows will receive on-the-job training, mentorship and professional development opportunities. We also provide career coaching to prepare fellows for their path after their fellowship.

Fellowship tracks

Our cohorts include three reporting fellows, one audience engagement fellow and one product & technology fellow.

Fellows in the reporting track should expect to gain more experience in:

  • Covering issues deeply through original reporting, researched context and nuanced framing
  • Pitching stories they want to follow through the lens of equity and representation
  • Identifying and developing areas of expertise within their reporting
  • Exploring storytelling across digital platforms and in-person events
  • Centering the voices and experiences of people on the margins, who are often affected the most at the intersections of gender and policy

See stories reported on by our 2023-2024 and 2022-2023 fellows.

Fellows in the audience engagement track should expect to gain more experience in:

  • Finding, pitching, producing and reporting out audience-centric stories that live first and foremost on off-platform channels like Instagram. For example, our callout for Black country music fans, or our roundup of Women’s History Month quotes from our current fellow cohort
  • Optimizing and distributing journalism across platforms — such as on our site, via search, on social and in newsletters — to meet different audiences where they are
  • Crafting accurate, compelling headlines, social and newsletter copy, and visuals on deadline
  • Working with different roles across editorial, audio, event and product teams to execute on audience engagement projects
  • Using key newsroom platforms and tools to draft and schedule social media posts, update our homepage, monitor real-time metrics and trending topics, and produce an article or newsletter

Fellows in the product and technology track should expect to gain more experience in:

  • A specific engineering focus, building on existing skills in PHP and/or WordPress development, front-end engineering in HTML, CSS and JavaScript or data science quantitative analysis
  • Testing product feasibility, writing technical requirements and estimating timelines
  • Collaborating with engineers, product designers, researchers and managers to build, test and launch new features for products, like our websiterepublishing tools, apps like Apple News, and revenue and audience databases. For example, our current fellow built analytics dashboards for staff.
  • Communicating about technical progress, roadblocks and tradeoffs in a way that is understandable for non-technical stakeholders
  • Making technical decisions based on factors like ethics, security, performance and accessibility

The fellowship year

The fellowship year kicks off in the fall with an opening retreat for new fellows, held in conjunction with a 19th event in a different city every year. Both new and outgoing fellows have the chance to connect and community build. New fellows have sessions that set them up for the year and beyond, like building influence and managing up, while outgoing fellows celebrate the end of their fellowship.

Key features of the fellowship:

  • A year of learning. In addition to being embedded on their respective teams, fellows experience a robust curriculum of relevant training throughout the fellowship, shaped in tandem with the cohort’s input. Previous workshops have included coping with trauma and burnout, networking, negotiating salary, revamping résumés and portfolios, tips from hiring managers, mental wellness and financial literacy. Trainers have hailed from The New York Times, American Press Institute, KHN, WHYY, AJ+, Poynter and more.
  • Growing your journalism network. The 19th supports fellows’ career progression by coordinating networking opportunities for fellows with journalists and hiring managers in media throughout the year via networking happy hours and hiring manager panels. The 19th covers one year of membership in the National Association of Black Journalists as well as fellows’ attendance to NABJ’s annual convention and career fair during their fellowship year.
  • Legendary retreats. Fellows have an opening retreat at the start of the fellowship year to prepare them for the year ahead. As part of the retreat, they also attend a 19th event. At the midpoint of the fellowship, usually in early spring, fellows have a midyear retreat in Philadelphia where program namesake Frances Ellen Watkins Harper once lived. This retreat focuses on job preparation with resume and portfolio workshops, a networking happy hour and more. In late spring, fellows join the rest of The 19th staff at an all-staff retreat that focuses on learning, strategy and fun. Finally, fellows end the fellowship year with a fall celebration where they also connect with new fellows who are just beginning their year. In all, fellows attend four retreats – three fellowship-related and one with all staff. Accommodations for remote participation are also available.
  • Finding your career path. All fellows receive 1:1 goal-setting and coaching from The 19th’s director of fellowships, with support from people operations and very committed staff across the organization, including editor-at-large Errin Haines. Fellows also receive six months of coaching through Digital Women Leaders in the final three months of the fellowship and three months after the fellowship as they transition in their careers.
  • Professional development. Like all 19th staff, fellows receive a professional development stipend and are encouraged to seek out growth and learning opportunities. Previous fellows have completed Coursera courses and attended journalism conferences and seminars.
  • A bonus benefit. Fellows go through detailed and constructive performance reviews mid-fellowship to expose them to the process, so they are comfortable doing so in future roles. Fellows receive a one-time merit bonus once reviews are complete.

Who can apply

Eligible candidates should be any one of the following:

  • A recent graduate (within two years of graduation), early-career (three to four years’ experience) or mid-career alum (5-10 years’ experience) of a Historically Black College or University
  • A graduating senior of a Historically Black College College or University with a graduation date prior to the anticipated fellowship start date of October 2024
  • An individual who attended a Historically Black College or University for at least two years, and either transferred or did not graduate
  • All applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States. This can include conditional student/work visas, provided The 19th will not be required to take additional steps in sponsorship

Eligible candidates should also have the following:

  • Some relevant experience in their chosen fellowship track
  • A genuine interest in growing their career in journalism
  • Alignment with The 19th’s values and community guidelines

How to apply

When submitting an application, prospective fellows will need to submit the following:

  • A cover letter explaining why you want to work at The 19th, and what impact this fellowship program would have on your career goals
  • Your résumé
  • Relevant samples of your work

For more Information: Visit the website for Frances Ellen Watkins Fellowship 2024-25 Programme


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