The Reynolds Journalism Institute tests and demonstrates new technologies, experiments with new approaches to producing, designing and delivering news, information and advertising, and hosts conferences and workshops for the journalism industry. RJI’s work crosses diverse specialties within journalism, including media convergence, editorial content and methods, the evolution of advertising, innovation in management and the impact of new technologies. It also partners varied schools on campus such as law, computer science, marketing, education and other disciplines.

The Reynolds Journalism Institute welcomes proposals from Missouri School of Journalism faculty that advance your research agenda and RJI’s mission. RJI engages media professionals, scholars and others to strengthen journalism in the service of democracy, especially by testing new journalistic and financial ideas, techniques and products.


While we accept research applications from all tenured, tenure-track and professional practice faculty, preference will be given to proposals that are most likely to generate both professional and academic outcomes of interest to the school, RJI and journalism practitioners. We strongly encourage faculty to consult with the Director of Innovation before submitting a proposal. In addition, a key requirement of our involvement is the ability to share preliminary findings with RJI’s readers in advance of formal publication in academic journals, monographs or books.

Review Criteria

RJI will evaluate proposals based on the following criteria: (not all areas need to be addressed but the more boxes that are checked the stronger the proposal)

  1. Research has strong and direct ties to journalism practice
  2. Research leverages the unique resources of RJI and the Missouri School of Journalism, including – where appropriate -- RJI Fellows and staff
  3. Research methods are appropriate and can be executed well with the proposed budget
  4. Proposal identifies and includes intellectual, financial or in-kind support from relevant partners who can be leveraged to support future research or programs
  5. Publication strategy is clear and compelling
  6. Research promises to produce new or strengthened relationships that support the school and RJI

Questions? Email Kat Duncan Director of Innovation:

How do I apply?

Apply below. The application deadline is February 26, 2021. You will be notified by email about zoom interviews by March 8th, 2021.  

What is a 2021 RJI Student Innovation Fellowship? 

A Missouri School of Journalism student interning with a local news organization by working 30-40 hours per week in a summer internship. These fellowships are being sponsored by RJI’s Palmer Innovation Endowment. They must be focused on projects using new storytelling techniques, audience engagement strategies, delivery platforms, revenue opportunities and/or other innovative initiatives. 

These internships can be done remotely. 

What do the student fellows receive?

Each student fellow receives a $5,000 stipend from RJI and will be expected to work for 30-40 hours a week for 12 weeks, starting Monday, May 17, and finishing Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. 

Who are the summer 2021 partners?

These fellowships are designed for each student to find a news partner to work with on an innovation idea of mutual interest, i.e., Google analytics, Instagram video, virtual events, new revenue experiments and more. The strongest applications will have a great idea and a committed newsroom partner. 

That said, finding a partner is not required and, depending on the idea and other factors, RJI may be able to help find you a news organization to work with.

Do I qualify for a fellowship?

All current and recently graduated Missouri School of Journalism students are encouraged to apply. 

Who supervises my work?

Each newsroom will be required to assign a supervisor & mentor. They will be expected to give regular feedback to the student fellow, engage in (at least!) weekly meetings with them and provide guidance in their projects. In addition, RJI’s Director of Innovation, Kat Duncan, will communicate regularly with you and them to make sure you are learning, supported and achieving your goals. 

What am I required to produce for RJI?

In addition to the internship work, student’s work will be highlighted in RJI’s Innovation in Focus web series. Students will share their work, interview journalism professionals and produce tip pieces to help other newsrooms implement or take advantage of the same innovation they’re engaging in this summer. 

How are the RJI Student Innovation Fellows chosen?

RJI’s Executive Director Randy Picht and Director of Innovation Kat Duncan will screen applications and choose up to 20 finalists to interview before awarding the fellowships.

Reynolds Journalism Institute