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Midwest Newsroom Fellow - Engagement Specialist


NPR fellowships offer early to mid-career professionals an opportunity to share their talents and hone their skills while working with NPR and our Member Stations.

The Midwest Newsroom is a four-station public media collaboration emphasizing investigative and in-depth journalism. It encompasses the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

The Midwest Newsroom is offering two fellowships in 2022 for a 6 to 8 month term, depending on hire date. Funded by the Kauffman Foundation, the fellowships will place one reporter and one engagement specialist in a non-public media newsroom. The ideal candidates will have experience in exploring and covering issues related to the impact of environmental factors on traditionally overlooked and marginalized communities (e.g. urban, rural, non-English speaking).


  •  The fellowships last from January to August 2022
  •  Each fellow receives $25,000
  •  The end product of the fellowships will be a multimedia story or series of stories focusing on Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska (multimedia should include text, data visualization and photos, audio and/or video).
    • Location: Remote, but based in/close to one of these cities: Kansas City, MO, St. Louis, MO, Des Moines, IA, or Lincoln, NE
    • Application deadline: January 15, 2022 

What you bring

  •  Creative approaches to convening listening and other engagement initiatives with people directly affected by a particular problem or issue.
  •  Experience using engagement techniques to inform in-depth or investigative journalism.
  •  Strong research and writing skills.
  •  Comfort with and ability to collaborate with several partners.
  •  Experience using social media and digital tools for engagement.
  •  2 years in journalism with an emphasis in engagement
  •  The ability to devote yourself to this work full-time for the duration of the fellowship.
  •  Preference will be given to engagement specialists who:
    •  Live in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri or Nebraska
    •  Have experience in exploring issues related traditionally overlooked and marginalized communities (e.g. urban, rural, non-English speaking).
    •  Can travel in the region as needed (funding provided)
    •  Are bilingual (Spanish/English)

What the fellowship experience offers

  •  The chance to work with NPR, member stations and an independent non-public media news outlet to explore an issue involving environmental impacts on traditionally underserved and marginalized communities.
  •  A $25,000 grant
  •  Editorial support and guidance
  •  Wide distribution of your work across the region (NPR, NPR member stations and partner media outlets)
  •  Access to resources including:
    •  Data visualization specialist
    •  Public and legal records databases
    •  Relevant training opportunities
    •  Funding for reporting and engagement travel and other activities
    •  Funding to support translation of your work into relevant languages

To Apply

In lieu of a cover letter, please answer the following questions. They are designed to gauge how you think about reporting and about the journalism profession. Be specific and use your answers to set yourself apart:

  1. What do you think is the most undercovered environmental issue or problem affecting children in the Midwest (you may define “Midwest” as broadly or narrowly as you like)? Please explain your reasoning.
  2. How can investigative journalism techniques be applied to exploring environmental issues and problems?
  3. What role can engagement techniques play in supporting and informing journalism? Please provide examples (real or hypothetical).
  4. Besides major news outlets, what people, accounts and outlets do you follow to stay informed?
  5. Tell us about a time when you collaborated closely with a colleague or partner on a project. How did you communicate? What challenges did you face and how did you meet those challenges?

For engagement applicants

  1. Please describe three to five examples of engagement initiatives you played a key role in and include links to the work that resulted.
  2. Contact information for three references.
  3. Your resume.