Midwest News Fellowship

Are you a journalist working to revitalize local or regional news in the Midwest?

About the Midwest News Fellowship

As U.S. news organizations are increasingly concentrated in coastal cities while newsrooms across the Midwest either shrink or disappear, Wallace House is committed to supporting journalism innovators launching projects to restore coverage and fill the regional void. We created the Knight-Wallace Fellowship for Midwest News to help build and sustain local and regional news sources in the Midwest. Due to uncertainty about close gathering and in-person instruction, this fellowship will no be offered for the 2020-21 academic year.

The Midwest News Fellowships is for leaders of new journalism projects in the Midwest to join the Knight-Wallace Fellowships for an academic year at the University of Michigan. The Midwest News Fellowship, launched with a gift from Ann Arbor entrepreneurs and philanthropists Dug and Linh Song, offers dedicated support to founders, editors and senior staff to further develop their vision, consult with experts and implement their learnings following the fellowship.

A Fellowship Plus

Journalists awarded the Midwest News Fellowship will fully participate in the Knight-Wallace Fellowship program of specialized study, workshops and international travel, and receive a $75,000 stipend and health insurance. The Midwest News Fellowship includes additional support to address the unique needs of news innovators working to restore or deepen coverage in the Midwest and build sustainable business models in underserved markets and news deserts.

  • Faculty consultants from entrepreneurship programs at the University of Michigan Law School and Ross School of Business to advise on core business challenges
  • Flexibility to maintain news operations during the eight-month fellowship
  • Up to six months of consulting support following the fellowship to aid in implementation of project

The Midwest News Fellowship is open to founders, leaders and senior staff members from news projects launched within the past five years. The organization should be based in the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio or Wisconsin.

We are interested in applicants from a wide range of ventures: local, state and regional; general news and topic-driven; those with a focus on institutional accountability and those with a focus on elevating community voices; text, visual, audio, and data-driven.

Deadline to Apply is Feb. 1

The deadline to apply for the 2021-2022 academic year is February 1, 2021.

Applicants must complete the Midwest News Fellowship application and submit a journalism project profile, a statement of up to 1500 words explaining the biggest challenges the project faces, the audience and community needs the project meets and the void the project fills in a city, state or region of the Midwest. Applicants should identify what disciplines they would like to study at the University of Michigan and how they envision managing the balance between work responsibilities and engaging fully in the fellowship.

More on how to apply »

Midwest News Fellowship FAQ

When is the application deadline? 

Applications are due on February 1, 2021.
Application reference letters are due February 7, 2021.

Who is eligible?

Senior leadership of new journalism organizations and projects based in the Midwest. That could mean founders or senior editors/reporters, anyone involved in the editorial and business strategy of the venture. We are focused on “new” ventures, those launched roughly within the past five years. The project can be a start-up or a new venture launched from or within an existing organization.

Like our traditional fellowship, applicants must have a minimum of five years of journalism experience and be working in some aspect of journalism.

Applicants must be based in and work in the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Even if you are the lone staffer, you are eligible to apply.

What Midwest news ventures or projects qualify?

Qualifying journalism organizations may focus on local, city, state or regional news, as long as the organization is based in and covering an area in the Midwest. All formats are welcome: text, visual, audio and data-driven.

What if my organization is older than five years?

Five years is our general guideline. But it is the undertaking of the journalism venture and its significance, not the absolute age of the organization or project, that is most important. If you are working to sustain a relatively new venture and you think you could benefit from this fellowship, we encourage you to apply.

Can I apply for both the traditional Knight-Wallace Fellowship and the Midwest News Fellowship?

If you are specifically interested in sustaining a new journalism venture in the Midwest and you would like directed mentorship for a project you are leading or helping to run, you should apply for the Midwest News Fellowship.

I have an idea for a news startup in one of the qualifying states but haven’t started it yet. Do I qualify to apply for the Midwest News Fellowship?

The Midwest News Fellowship is for leaders of new ventures that have already been launched. It is not an incubator for ideas that are not yet off the ground.

What do you look for in the journalism project profile?

Your project profile should explain your work, your goals, and what challenges you are facing in building or sustaining your organization or project. Tell us how you think a fellowship at the University of Michigan and being a part of the Knight-Wallace network could help you and what you hope to do when you finish the fellowship.

How to apply for the Midwest News Fellowship »
Midwest News Fellowship Announcement »
About the Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship »