Join our Team

Join our Team

The nationally acclaimed Carnegie-Knight News21 program, created by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is open to all journalism schools in the United States.

Behind the scenes of News 21 from Arizona State University on Vimeo.

How It Works:

During the spring semester, students take part in:

  • An Issues Seminar. Approved fellows from participating universities take part in a weekly issues seminar in the spring semester taught by Professor Leonard Downie Jr., the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the Cronkite School and former executive editor of The Washington Post and News21 Executive Editor Jacqueline Petchel. The seminar immerses students in the topic to be investigated by News21 in the summer. The 2018 project will investigate hate crimes, hate groups and their targets and victims. Fellows from schools outside of ASU participate in the seminar via videoconference through their laptop computers using Adobe Connect. Non-ASU students may take the course for credit through their universities or monitor the course without enrolling. However, all fellows must fully participate and complete all work to Professor Downie’s satisfaction. Jan. 8, 2018, and conclude April 27, 2018. It is held on Thursdays for three hours, beginning at 11:30 a.m. and ending at 2:20 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.
  • An Accountability Journalism class. News21 fellows also may elect to participate via videoconference in Professor Downie’s weekly Accountability Journalism class during the spring semester. This is optional but strongly encouraged. The class is on Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. MST.

During the summer, fellows work full time out of a digital newsroom at the Cronkite School for 10 weeks, typically beginning in mid to late May and ending in late July or early August. Fellows receive a $7,500 stipend plus travel expenses. The cost of housing is not covered, but the Cronkite School will make arrangements for university dormitory housing on ASU’s downtown Phoenix campus next to the Cronkite building.

Students work under a team of journalism leaders that include:

  • Executive Editor: Jacquee Petchel, former senior editor for investigations and enterprise at The Houston Chronicle. She also has worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Miami, Phoenix and Indianapolis and produced investigative journalism for TV stations in Minneapolis and Miami. Petchel is the lead newsroom manager and editor.
  • Professor and Editor: Leonard Downie, the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the Cronkite School and former executive editor of The Washington Post. Downie provides regular consulting and editing from Phoenix and Washington.
  • Data Editor: Sarah Cohen, the Knight Chair specializing in data journalism at Cronkite. The former database editor at The Washington Post, she shared in the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting and was a Pulitzer finalist for public service.
  • Assistant Editor: Christina Leonard directs the Reynolds Business Reporting Bureau at Cronkite. A former editor at The Arizona Republic, she works closely with teams of students as they report and produce their stories.
  • Administrative Editor: Senior Associate Dean Kristin Gilger, former deputy managing editor of The Arizona Republic.


The total cost to participating schools is $11,000 per fellow. This covers salary and travel stipends for fellows.

How to Apply:

Applications should come from the school’s dean or director, not from individual students. The application packet must include:

  • A letter of nomination from the program dean or director by Nov. 10. Nominees should be top journalism students (graduate or advanced undergraduates) who have completed intermediate- and advanced-level reporting courses and a fundamental multimedia journalism course or who have demonstrated comparable expertise. Recent graduates (within six months of the beginning of the summer fellowship) also will be considered. The nomination letter from the dean’s or director’s office should vouch for the applicant(s) and indicate the school’s commitment to provide $11,000 for each fellow’s salary and travel.
  • The student’s resume with current contact information;
  • A letter from each student applicant explaining his or her qualifications and career aspirations and why he or she is a good fit for the program;
  • A link to portfolios or work samples. Examples of work may include published clips, videos, photos, design efforts or other representative work that illustrates the student’s areas of interest and/or expertise. No set number of work samples is required, but we prefer at least three or four.

Applications may be emailed to or mailed to: News21, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ, 85004.

How Candidates Are Selected:

Candidates are judged by leading journalists and journalism educators on the following criteria: quality of journalism (demonstrated storytelling and reporting skills); strength of recommendations from their schools; multimedia skills; investigative reporting skills; ability to work as member of a team in an open, collaborative environment; and commitment to journalism as a career. Demonstrated special skills such as Web development, design, photography, videography or data analysis also may weigh in the decision.

Students may be asked to participate in a Skype or phone interview prior to a final decision being made.

Schools and students will be notified of selection decisions by Dec. 1.

Financing Fellowships:

Some schools have used existing scholarship or special funds to support their fellows while others have garnered new support through naming opportunities. In the latter circumstance, the supporter will be credited in the byline or credit line for the student’s work. Partial scholarship funds are available through News21. For more information, contact Senior Associate Dean Kristin Gilger, whose contact information is provided below.


Recent fellows have come from more than two dozen journalism schools, including ASU; Elon University; Florida International University, Louisiana State University, Syracuse University, University of Florida, University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Oklahoma, University of Oregon, University of North Carolina, University of Texas and University of British Columbia, among others.

The benefits of News21 to the fellows are proven: Students receive an unparalleled experience working one-on-one with some of the best journalism minds in the country on in-depth and digitally innovative projects and receive unprecedented national distribution and recognition of their work. Past News21 fellows have an employment placement record – both qualitatively and quantitatively — that is far superior to both the national averages and the placements of peers within their institutions.

The benefit to participating schools is equally striking. The News21 program, with its focus on depth and innovation, experiential learning and coverage of important national projects, has permeated throughout the 12 original News21 schools. Those deans and directors report a dramatic transformation of their curricula in recent years, due in large part to the lessons learned in News21.

For More Information:

Contact Cronkite Senior Associate Dean Kristin Gilger at or 602.496.9448.

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