Note: Applications for our 2022 fellowship program are now closed. Please visit our jobs page for our available opportunities.
The 19th is launching its first formal fellowship program in 2022: the Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Fellowship. Named for the “mother of African American journalism,” the program — launched in partnership with Nikole Hannah-Jones, Howard University’s Knight chair in race and journalism — will provide recent graduates, mid-career alums and former students of Historically Black Colleges and Universities with full-year salaried and benefit-laden fellowships in the areas of reporting, editing, audience engagement and newsroom technology. Learn more about Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, below.
About the program
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Fellows will spend a year working in editorial, audience, product or technology roles with full-time salaries and benefits, made possible by the generous support of Michelle Mercer and Bruce Golden. Fellows will receive on-the-job training, mentorship and development opportunities. We’ll also provide job-placement assistance to prepare fellows for what comes next after their fellowship.
We will be accepting five full-year fellows for our September 2022 cohort, including three editorial fellows, one audience engagement fellow and one product & technology fellow.
Fellows in the editorial track may learn how to:
- Cover issues deeply through original reporting, researched context and nuanced framing.
- Pitch stories they want to follow through the lens of equity and representation
- Identify and develop areas of expertise within their reporting
- Explore storytelling across digital platforms and in-person events
- Center the voices and experiences of people on the margins, who are often affected the most at the intersections of gender and policy
Fellows in the audience engagement track may learn how to:
- Find, pitch and report on audience-focused journalism projects, like our explainer on Texas’ abortion law that was based on reader questions or this KQED roundup of audience stories about COVID-19 shame
- Engage audiences through alternative story formats, like virtual events or Instagram carousel explainers
- Work with different roles across editorial and product teams to execute on audience engagement projects
- Optimize and distribute journalism across platforms, such as site, search, social, and newsletters, to meet different audiences where they are
- Craft accurate, compelling headlines, social and newsletter copy, and visuals on deadline
- Use key newsroom platforms and tools to monitor real-time metrics and trending topics, schedule social media posts, and produce a website or newsletter
Fellows in the product and technology track may learn how to:
- Design and conduct audience research to inspire and inform development of key journalism products, such as 19thnews.org, newsletters and events
- Analyze audience data to better understand their behavior and desires to help strengthen growth and engagement at each step of the audience funnel
- Build a membership program and foster a community of people who want to financially support nonprofit journalism
- Reach new communities through strategic partnerships, including partner evaluation, outreach and relationship building
- Design intuitive and accessible user experiences
- Create prototypes and conduct usability testing
- Design graphics for social media, membership campaigns, newsletters and events
- Art direct a diverse roster of illustrators and photographers
- Use design thinking to generate product ideas that meet audience needs, align with our mission and advance business goals
- Communicate goals and plans with stakeholders and triage their feedback
- Collaborate with engineers to write requirements, test and ship products
- Write a product vision and prioritize opportunities to develop a product roadmap
Who can apply
Eligible candidates should be any one of the following:
- A recent graduate or mid-career alum of an Historically Black College or University
- A graduating senior of an Historically Black College College or University with a graduation date prior to the anticipated fellowship start date of September 2022
- An individual who attended an Historically Black College or University for at least two years, and either transferred or did not graduate
All applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States. This can include conditional student/work visas provided The 19th will not be required to take additional steps in sponsorship.
Eligible candidates should also have the following:
- Some relevant experience in their chosen fellowship track
- A genuine interest in growing their career in journalism
- Alignment with our values and community guidelines
How to apply
We are now accepting applications for our 2022-23 fellowship class, which begins in September. The application will require you to select which fellowship track(s) you are interested in applying for. Make sure to read about each of the tracks first before submitting your application.
Click here to apply. Applications are due on May 31, 2022, at 5 p.m. CT (extended deadline)
Applicants will need the following to submit their application:
- A cover letter explaining why you want to work at The 19th, and what impact this fellowship program would have on your career goals
- Your résumé
- Relevant samples of your work
Feel free to reach out to [email protected] if you have any questions.
Support fellowships at The 19th
Are you interested in supporting fellowships at The 19th? Contact Chief Revenue Officer Johanna Derlega ([email protected]) for more details.
Frequently Asked Questions
Fellows will receive a salary of $70,000–$75,000 depending on the fellowship track they are selected for.
Fellows will be eligible for most 19th employment benefits, including:
- Vacation time off (20 days lump sum)
- Sick time off (10 days lump sum)
- Personal days (6 days lump sum)
- All 19th paid holidays (17 days in 2022)
- 401(k) plan (up to 3.5% matching on 6% contribution)
- Flexible Spending Plan (for qualifying medical or child care expenses)
- Health, vision and dental insurance (100% for employee / 60% for dependents)
- Long-term and Short-term disability insurance
- Life insurance
Fellowship positions are remote so fellows can reside anywhere in the United States. Some portions of the fellowship will require fellows to travel, whether for 19th convenings, conferences or storytelling.
Once a fellow has been chosen for a particular track, they’ll need to stay in that track for the course of the year.
We ask that fellows commit to completing a full year in the fellowship. In the event that a fellow is unable to complete a full year due to unforeseen circumstances that arise during the year, we’ll consider deferring their fellowship spot to the following year as space and resources permit.
The fellowship duration is limited to one year and we are unable to guarantee continued employment at The 19th after the fellowship year has concluded. Over the course of the fellowship, and as it draws closer to concluding, The 19th will provide assistance to all fellows in preparing for employment post-fellowship, including leveraging our networks to help fellows seek opportunities at places they’d like to work, and helping fellows with application and interview processes.
About Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Born in Baltimore to free Black parents, Harper was a prolific writer and a correspondent for anti-slavery newspapers, including Frederick Douglass’ The Liberator. She was also a traveling abolitionist and orator who used the Underground Railroad to help people escape slavery. Over the course of her life, she was deeply and actively engaged in the women’s suffrage movement, breaking with the likes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony over their unwillingness to prioritize the voting rights of Black men. She was the cofounder of the National Association of Colored Women.
Harper embodied The 19th’s asterisk — she was never once able to cast a ballot. But she did not let this disenfranchisement stifle her activism or her civic engagement.
She gave a famous speech at the 1866 National Women’s Rights Convention, “We Are All Bound Up Together,” in which she spoke bluntly about White women’s suffrage: “I do not believe that White women are dew-drops just exhaled from the skies. I think that like men they may be divided into three classes, the good, the bad and the indifferent … You White women speak here of rights. I speak of wrongs.”
Harper was one of the first Black women to be published in the United States: She was the first Black woman ever to have a short story published commercially, she was the most popular Black poet before Paul Laurence Dunbar (she published 80 poems), and her novel, “Iola Leroy,” was one of the first books published by a Black woman. The author was 67 when it debuted.
She also predated Rosa Parks in refusing, in 1858, to give up her seat or ride in the “colored” section of a segregated trolley car.
Harper was a friend and mentor to other Black writers and journalists, including Ida B. Wells. She died in 1911 in her adopted home of Philadelphia.