Center for Media Innovation Restarts $20,000 Media Fellowship

Doris ODonnell Fellowship
(Image credit: Point Park University)

PITTSBURGH—The Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University is once again set to award its $20,000 Doris O’Donnell Innovations in Investigative Journalism Fellowship after skipping 2020 due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Doris O’Donnell Innovations in Investigative Journalism Fellowship is designed to spotlight and take on the issue of underserved media markets, known as news deserts. The fellowship is made possible through a three-year grant from the Allegheny Foundation.

“The pandemic has highlighted two conflicting truths about local journalism—the public wants and needs access to original reporting, and the newsrooms that generate that content are more fragile than ever,” said Andrew Conte, director of the Center for Media Innovation. “The O’Donnell fellowship addresses these needs by helping local newsrooms tell enterprising stories in areas of the United States that remain largely uncovered.

“We are pleased to offer support for journalists across the United States who are doing the critical work of keeping their communities informed,” Conte added.

Officially the second year of the fellowship program, the Center for Media Innovation has announced that in addition to the $20,000 first prize, second- and third-place prizes of $5,000 and $2,500 will also be handed out.

The fellowship winner will have eight months to report and publish or broadcast stories. The honoree will also come to Point Park University’s Pittsburgh campus to meet with students and attend a celebration of their work. If the pandemic prevents an in-person visit, other arrangements will be made.

Seven individuals with experience in innovative and investigative journalism have been appointed to this year’s panel of judges. They include Penny Abernathy, former executive at The Wall Street Journal and New York Times; David Folkenflik, a media correspondent for NPR News and host and editor of “On Point from NPR;” Andrew Fraser, senior publishing editor at The Wall Street Journal; Amber Hunt, an investigative reporter from the Cincinnati Enquirer; Brentin Mock, staff writer for CityLab; Carl Prine, former editor of the Navy Times; and Salena Zito, a contributor to The Wall Street Journal and RealClear Politics, Washington Examiner reporter and New York Post columnist.

Journalists and media outlets may apply for the fellowship until March 23. The winner will be announced on April 14.

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