Press Release

Take the Time to Write the Best Education Story of Your Career

MILWAUKEE, WI – The O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism, now in its eighth year, launches the 2021-2022 fellowship application period on December 1. It will remain open until January 23, 2021. Since 2013, reporters from around the country have partnered with the O’Brien Fellowship to produce great investigative and explanatory journalism. Past Fellows have explored education topics and other issues.

One of these Fellows was Erin Richards, then the education reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. As a 2017-2018 O’Brien Fellow, Erin investigated the academic impact associated with high rates of student turnover. She found that 10 percent of students in public education changed schools non-routinely from the 2016-17 to the 2017-18 school years. This change limited relationship building among educators and students and led to lack of academic growth.

“Erin’s fellowship capped off with a public forum that brought together educators and elected officials to help solve the problem,” said Dave Umhoefer, O’Brien Fellowship director.

Fellows like Erin get nine months to work on their stories, receive a stipend of $70,000 and additional funding for travel, research and housing. Each also works with a team of Marquette journalism students on their project.

Fellows are encouraged to take up residence in Milwaukee, travel domestically or overseas as needed, and work mainly from offices in the O’Brien suite in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. However, due to COVID-19, partial Milwaukee residency and remote applicants will also be considered.

For more information about the fellowship or to apply visit or contact director Dave Umhoefer.

ABOUT THE O’BRIEN FELLOWSHIP: Backed by the resources of Marquette University and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, O’Brien fellows report and write the stories they care most deeply about — stories with the potential to change policies and improve lives. This fully funded fellowship allows newsroom professionals to do the best work of their careers on issues of vital importance while they also mentor the next generation of journalists. Stories by O’Brien fellows have earned prestigious honors including the George Polk and the duPont, and awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, National Headliner, the National Association of Black Journalists, the John Jay College/Guggenheim and the National Academies.

Contact information:
Dave Umhoefer, Director of O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism
Marquette University
1131 W. Wisconsin Ave, Johnston Hall 102
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
 (414) 288-5956

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