The UC Berkeley Graduate College of Journalism will launch a $25 million, state-funded fellowship program this spring that goals to assist and strengthen native reporting in underserved and traditionally underrepresented areas throughout the state.
What’s believed to be the biggest state allocation ever made in California and within the U.S. to assist native journalism, the brand new Berkeley fellowship program will award as much as 40 fellows per yr for no less than three years with a $50,000 annual stipend to complement their salaries whereas they work in California newsrooms overlaying communities in dire want of sturdy native journalism.
Fellowships will final three years. Berkeley Journalism college students and graduates, and graduates of different applications elsewhere, will have the ability to apply for the primary fellowship cohort as early as Might 2023. Chancellor Carol Christ stated the fellowship program displays the campus’s values and priorities, and demonstrates the modern chief that Berkeley Journalism has change into in increased training.
“This program will likely be terribly useful for the journalism college students we educate and the individuals of California, who we serve,” stated Christ. “The larger good is superior once we can depend on credible, native information protection that displays the wants and issues of all communities. On the similar time, offering equitable entry to a profession in journalism will assist guarantee our college students can thrive professionally, with out regard for his or her origins or identities.”
Berkeley Journalism Dean Geeta Anand stated the funding will rework native journalism in California and alter who will get to be a journalist within the state. “That is on the core of who we’re: One-quarter of our incoming class are first-generation school college students, and greater than half are from communities underrepresented in journalism,” she stated.
“This funding won’t solely strengthen native journalism and democracy, but in addition allow early profession journalists from traditionally marginalized teams to have the ability to afford to take the entry stage jobs important to constructing a journalism profession,” Anand stated.
Funds for the fellowship program will come from California Meeting Invoice 179, which was accepted by legislators within the senate and meeting final week and championed by District 7 Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa). Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the invoice into legislation yesterday.
This system goals to strengthen native reporting throughout the state and to fight the gaps in credible native information protection which have been crammed by disinformation, Glazer stated.
“Public tv and public radio have proven that People belief impartial, government-funded media,” Glazer stated. “This program builds on that custom by offering public sources to native media by the creation of a university-run fellowship program whose journalists will likely be fully impartial and function with none connection to the federal government or affect from politicians.”
The decline of America’s native journalism has been evident because the starting of the century. In keeping with Pew Analysis polls, weekday newspaper circulation within the nation fell from 55.8 million households to an estimated 28.6 million between 2000 and 2018, resulting in a 57% drop in newsroom employment from 2008 to 2020.
1 / 4 of all newspapers throughout the nation — 2,500 — have closed since 2005, and 365 have shut down since simply earlier than the beginning of the pandemic.
The concept for the AB 179 funding, Glazer stated, sprung from widespread concern from lawmakers that this waning of native information media protection poses a profound risk to democracy.
“Something we will do to assist impartial, correct and credible information protection will assist Californians make knowledgeable choices about authorities and public coverage,” Glazer stated. “We consider this program will change into a mannequin for the nation.”
Berkeley Journalism is uniquely positioned to make a right away and lasting influence on California’s native journalism protection, stated Anand.
In 2021-22 alone, Berkeley Journalism’s instructors and college students received 15 prestigious awards, together with a Pulitzer Prize, a George Polk Award and the Pupil Academy Award for documentary movie.
And when the COVID-19 pandemic started, Berkeley Journalism remodeled itself inside one week right into a newsroom, partnering with the New York Occasions to assist meet the necessity for complete native reporting on how the well being disaster was affecting California. Half of the Berkeley Journalism college students had their work revealed.
“Berkeley Journalism is a world-class establishment with lengthy and deep roots in California’s communities,” stated Anand. “It’s each a faculty and a newsroom targeted on excessive influence and investigative reporting that features protection of the encircling communities.”
Berkeley Journalism will rent workers for a challenge administration group to run this system’s each day logistics. Deciding on fellows for this system will likely be an inclusive course of, Anand stated. An advisory board will likely be created to evaluate candidates and can embody journalism educators, professionals and specialists that symbolize and replicate California’s communities.
As for information retailers that fellows will work with, none will likely be excluded from consideration, however a specific focus will likely be placed on newsrooms that present native protection for underserved and traditionally underrepresented communities.
“We would like native journalism to flourish by having the ability to rent gifted journalists from completely different backgrounds who give attention to communities that aren’t totally represented or given a voice in present information protection. We wish to assist retailers that try to satisfy that want.”
The fellowship funding enhances a fundraising marketing campaign that Berkeley Journalism is launching this yr that goals to rework the sphere of journalism — and its central function in a democratic society. Whereas the state funds received’t be used for pupil tuition or scholarships, Anand stated the fellowship is a “gamechanger” that aligns with the varsity’s larger mission: to take away financial boundaries for journalists who’ve traditionally been excluded from the trade.
“All of us see the world by the prism of our personal lived experiences. So, who our storytellers are issues,” stated Anand. “If we don’t have a various group of individuals changing into journalists, then we miss tales that matter.”
For extra details about this system e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.