College journalism students: Apply now to be the American Press Institute Summer Fellow for 2019

The American Press Institute offers a paid summer fellowship for college students or recent graduates who have a strong desire to advance innovation in news organizations.

Unlike a summer internship, a core component of the program is a self-proposed fellowship project. We’re looking for a student or recent grad who can envision building something from start to finish — such as a tool, resource, or guide — that would help news organizations make decisions in critical areas of their work.

Applicants should outline a proposed fellowship project they would like to complete with API’s guidance during the 12-week program — examples include an information-gathering project, a written report, a small technology development, or any other effort that would help news organizations solve problems they face. Previous fellows have studied user-research methods that help news organizations pursue reader revenue, or how journalists might better serve refugee populations in their communities.

For 2019, we are encouraging fellows to propose projects within one of three categories:

  • Connections between audience analytics, engagement and reader revenue. API helps news organizations become audience-centered — that means engaging users, measuring and learning from their behavior, and persuading them to pay. We encourage projects that explore the best practices and connections between these subjects. Such as, how might analytics be used to improve engagement efforts? Or what forms of engagement convert new subscribers? Think of useful questions that your project might answer.
  • Growing diverse audiences, with attention to marginalized or alienated groups. While the digital age promised unity, we’ve seen division nationally and locally across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines, among others. What efforts could newsrooms pursue to listen to, engage, and accurately cover marginalized groups?
  • Creating more hospitable workplaces in news. The same journalists who are trying to innovate and experiment often also face threats, layoffs and other difficult circumstances. What internal efforts might help make news organizations become more fulfilling and enriching work environments, amid all their difficulties?

Your project could also relate to other areas of strategic importance. We value ideas that are practical in nature, draw on the applicant’s background, contribute something new to the industry, complement existing efforts to support journalism innovation, and can realistically be completed during a 12-week fellowship period.

In addition to completing his or her own fellowship project, the fellow will gain valuable experience in media innovation through involvement in American Press Institute programs, which include groundbreaking research about news audience behavior, emerging revenue models for news, and fostering processes of transformation and innovation within legacy news organizations.

We’re a small staff, so the Summer Fellow becomes an important part of the API team. This is a position for students with high levels of initiative, analytical thinking and ambitious ideas about inventing future models of journalism. The ideal applicant has experience in practicing or studying journalism or related fields, but they need not be journalism majors (e.g. students from computer science backgrounds, even beyond journalism, are encouraged to apply). What’s important is obsessing about how people get news and an itch for exploring new ideas.

The fellow will benefit from growing and publicly demonstrating their expertise in the subject of their fellowship project, as well as from immersion in API’s groundbreaking work and exposure to the influential leaders and innovators across the news industry who work closely with API.

Fellowship duties include:

  • Completing a fellowship project that advances innovation or understanding on an important challenge faced by news organizations
  • Contributing to API editorial content, including Good Questions Q&As
  • Assisting with API Thought Leader Summits, training, and other events
  • Participating in other API research, programs and consulting activities


  • Current student (undergraduate or graduate) or recent graduate
  • Demonstrable interest in journalism research, training and strategy
  • Strong analytical thinking skills to spot trends and identify new concepts
  • Good communication skills and ability to thrive in a collaborative work environment


  • The 12-week fellowship includes a $9,000 stipend. Start date is flexible depending on the fellow’s academic calendar, but expected to be on or around June 3.
  • Reports to Executive Director and works with API staff
  • Office location: Arlington, VA (Metro accessible)

To apply, send an email to including: 1) a resume, 2) a letter explaining your qualifications, your desire for this role, and outlining your fellowship project idea, and 3) references. Use “API Summer Fellow” in the subject line. Applications should be submitted as soon as possible, and no later than January 6, 2019.

About the American Press Institute

The American Press Institute advances an innovative and sustainable news industry by helping publishers understand and engage audiences, grow revenue, improve public-service journalism, and succeed at organizational change. API is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization affiliated with the News Media Alliance. It works with and draws on the best ideas from anyone working in news publishing and journalism and anyone interested in its mission of making journalism sustainable. For a better sense of what we’re interested in, try our daily newsletter, Need to Know.