Columbia Journalism School Launches Paid Internship Program, Reporting Grants to Support Students Graduating Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic | Columbia Journalism School

Columbia Journalism School Launches Paid Internship Program, Reporting Grants to Support Students Graduating Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, responding to a news media job market in crisis due to the COVID-19 virus, is collaborating with two non-profit news organizations to provide graduating students with paid internships and reporting grants to support their transitions to professional journalism.

The Columbia Journalism School Internship and Grants Program will support as many as 25 full-time, 10- to 12-week paid internships at non-profit news media companies, through a partnership with the Institute for NonProfit News (INN). And separately, Columbia Journalism School is establishing a $50,000 fund, administered by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, to award grants of up to $5,000 each so graduates can  continue work on their theses or develop other freelance stories to be pitched for publication.

The new investments in graduating students complement existing postgraduate fellowships and grants at the Journalism School which fund investigative reporting, international reporting and coverage of the media at Columbia Journalism Review. The new effort recognizes that the media environment, constrained by safety practices to contain the COVID-19 virus, has created extraordinary challenges for the class of 2020, as news organizations reduce, postpone or eliminate internship programs and other positions.

“The Class of 2020 will forever be remembered for the disruption it has endured this spring because of the pandemic and the sudden emergence of New York as an epicenter of the crisis,” said Steve Coll, Dean and Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism at Columbia. “We are very pleased that the Institute for Nonprofit News and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting have been able to join with us so quickly and creatively to support the transition of our outstanding graduates to their careers in professional journalism.”

“Nonprofit newsrooms have become central information sources about COVID-19 and are puncturing walls of secrecy around medical risks and resources,” said Sue Cross, INN’s executive director and chief executive. “We are grateful that through these internships, Columbia graduates can join in and add to the vital reporting that will help people get through this crisis and rebuild our social health and safety nets.”

“This is a time of grave challenge to the world but also a crisis for journalism,” said Jon Sawyer, executive director of the Pulitzer Center. “We salute the Journalism School’s commitment tohelping their students meet the moment we’re in.”

In the internship program, Columbia will sponsor and pay for graduating students to work as reporting interns around the country, and possibly abroad, during the summer or fall months. In the collaboration, INN will arrange for some of its 250 member news organizations to recruit and select graduates from the class of 2020 into paid editorial reporting jobs.

With the Columbia support, the Pulitzer Center will solicit proposals from the class of 2020 to report on enterprising stories focused on crisis anywhere in the world.

Graduates could begin their internships as early as May, following graduation, but many likely will take place during the fall, given the disruptions news organizations are likely to face over the summer. 

Students in all of the school’s master’s degree programs, including international scholars, will be eligible to apply directly to the employers, who will oversee their work.

In all, Columbia Journalism will be graduating about 275 master's students in May.

In addition to the positions at INN members, the Journalism School will create about five additional paid internships at for-profit news organizations as part of the program.

Through contributions to the Journalism School’s Annual Fund, funding is also being made available this spring to students facing other hardship as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

INN was founded in 2009 as an investigative news consortium. It works to strengthen the trusted sources of news by growing a network of nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations. With more than 2,000 journalists in the INN network now generating some 150,000 original reports a year, the network’s news footprint is now similar in scale to NPR and the NPR affiliate network. INN members share news coverage, editorial and business resources and function as an innovation network developing new models for news media.

The Pulitzer Center, founded 14 years ago, is dedicated to raising awareness of underreported global issues through direct support for quality journalism across all media platforms and a unique program of outreach and education to schools and universities.  The Columbia Journalism School is a member of the Pulitzer Center’s Campus Consortium, with an emphasis on support for the School’s documentary filmmaking students.