The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) engages journalism professionals, organizations, scholars and communities in programs, tools, resources and workshops aimed at strengthening community-centered journalism through practical innovation.

The Challenge

Create something to help a newsroom measure the impact of their news coverage for their community. The impact measurements should not revolve around traditional metrics like clicks, views or visits - but the real life impact of the journalism and its benefit to the communities it serves. 

Read more about the 2024 challenges, rules and timeline. 

Newsrooms & orgs who are interested in hosting a RJI Student Innovation Fellow for summer 2024 should apply below.
Fellowship Guidelines:

  • RJI pays the student fellows directly a stipend for their summer work but you are allowed (and encouraged!) to pay them an hourly wage in addition to their stipend if you are able to do so. 
  • The student fellow must work on 2-3 innovative projects or initiatives over the course of the summer which will be transparently shared with the journalism industry through articles they write for RJI. Students will not be doing traditional journalism reporting (writing articles, copy editing, covering daily stories etc) 
  • The RJI articles on their innovative projects will be published through our Innovation in Focus series on and in the IIF newsletter
  • Every newsroom must assign a mentor who is willing to work closely with the student supervising their work and taking part in our fellowship program by attending the occasional meetings, joining our shared slack space and communicating with RJI on their progress. 

Read more details here.

How do I apply?

Apply here. Applications open October 2, 2023. Deadline to apply is November 3, 2023. Students and will be notified by email about fellowship interviews by November 17, 2023. Newsrooms will contacted by RJI to follow up on the application and discuss project possibilities prior to being matched with a student.

What is a 2024 RJI Student Innovation Fellowship? 

A Mizzou journalism student placed with a news organization to work 30-40 hours per week in a summer RJI Student Innovation Fellowship. These fellowships are being sponsored by RJI’s Palmer Innovation Endowment fund. They must be focused on projects that create, extend or build upon innovative work in each newsroom and transparently share that work with the industry by publishing articles for the Innovation in Focus series to help journalists learn from and emulate the innovative work.

What do the student fellows receive?

Each student fellow receives a minimum stipend of $8000 and will be expected to work for 30–40 hours a week for 12 weeks, starting mid-May and ending mid-August. Organizations are allowed (and encouraged!) to supplement this stipend with hourly pay.

Payments from RJI are made in two parts. Half the stipend is paid at the beginning of the fellowship (within 30 days of their start date) and the second half is paid after all the student’s RJI deliverables are met.

Who are the 2024 newsroom & org partners?

These fellowships are designed for each student to work with a journalism organization on innovative projects of mutual interest. Partner organizations and newsrooms are chosen based on their applications and the availability of a student fellow whose interests match.

If you are a newsroom who would like to host a student fellow, apply here.

Do I qualify for a fellowship?

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

Who supervises my work?

Each newsroom will be required to assign a mentor. The mentor will give the RJI Student Innovation Fellow regular feedback and provide guidance on projects.

In addition, the RJI supervisor will meet with Student Fellows bi-weekly to make sure they are learning, supported and achieving their goals. 

What am I required to produce for RJI?

Each student’s work will be highlighted in RJI’s Innovation in Focus series and newsletter. These 2-3 articles will be produced by the student fellow over the course of their fellowship to share their work and help other newsrooms implement the same innovation. 

How are the RJI Student Innovation Fellows chosen?

RJI’s Director of Innovation Kat Duncan will choose up to 10 finalists to interview before awarding the fellowships.

The Reynolds Journalism Institute Innovation Team is accepting pitches for collaborators in building products, tools and resources for journalism.  

Have an idea that tackles a current need, gap or challenge in journalism? Do you believe in being completely transparent, whether you succeed or fail? Want to share, collaborate and be a part of building something together? 

We want to work with you! Not sure if your idea is a good fit? Set up a meeting with Will.

- As collaborators we share the work & the cost of the project, these are collaborations - not gifts or grants. 

- Collaborators get to access RJI resources + work with Mizzou students, staff and faculty.

- Our project manager keeps the project on track, within budget and sets it up for success. 

- End product should be a resource that is free, accessible and useful to journalists. 

-We welcome international partners, but the resource built through this collaboration needs to also be able to benefit local and community-centered newsrooms and journalists in the US. 

Read more.

The Women in Journalism Workshop is an annual workshop that focuses on challenges, accomplishments and issues specific to women in the journalism industry today. We want to help build safer, more diverse and innovative newsrooms to serve our communities worldwide. 

The lineup of session leaders and sessions is here. 

The 2024 WIJ Workshop will be April 12-14, 2024 at the Reynolds Journalism Institute.

The below is an application to express your interested in attending. If you are accepted, we will send you a registration form. Students $50 (or free if you volunteer!), Professionals $75. We cannot give refunds if you decide not to attend, but you are welcome to save your registration for a future year or give it to another journalist who would like your spot.

Questions: Director of Innovation Kat Duncan 

Reynolds Journalism Institute