The Ben Bagdikian Fellowship Program

The Ben Bagdikian Fellowship Program offers a crash course in investigative journalism. Mother Jones fellows dive deep into every aspect of a national multimedia outfit—how to cover breaking news, how investigations happen, how we ensure accuracy and impact, and how awards are won. Fellows build on their reporting and research experience, working with reporters, editors, and our digital, audio, and art teams to master the inner workings of nonprofit news.

Fellowship positions include:

Mother Jones fellowships are full-time positions lasting approximately one year. New fellowship cohorts generally begin on the first Monday in December and applications are due October 1, unless otherwise noted. The 2020 fellowship cohort will begin the first week of December 2020 and run through November 29, 2021. Applications are due September 27 (see below for the application). Those who are still in school or are only available part-time are not eligible, nor can fellowships be used for course credit. Mother Jones is not able to furnish work visas for applicants from outside the United States. For additional questions regarding eligibility, please email us at fellowships@motherjones.com.

Fellows receive a $3,250 monthly stipend, supported by grants from the Irving Harris and Lannan Foundations and by the generosity of our contributors.

Mother Jones believes that a diverse newsroom strengthens the quality of our workplace and reporting. We strongly encourage people from all backgrounds to apply.

Position Descriptions

Editorial Fellowship (San Francisco and DC): The editorial fellowship is a demanding, research-intensive foray into investigative journalism. Fellows work closely with reporters and editors on fact-checking, research, and reporting. You’ll receive training in every aspect of the editorial process, from research tools and methods to media law, and have opportunities to learn audio and data reporting, explore magazine feature writing, and hone your investigative skills. You’ll attend regular skill-building sessions covering topics that span the operations of a media organization.

Editorial fellows in our San Francisco office, our headquarters, work closely on our award-winning bimonthly print magazine. (Mother Jones will not resume in-office work in 2020, but fellows should be prepared for a possible reopening of offices in 2021.) By fact-checking our investigations, columns, and other reported pieces, fellows re-engineer a reporter’s work and learn what it takes to report and put together a magazine story. Fellows in San Francisco also work on our website, podcasts, and are expected and encouraged to report on subjects including national politics, climate change, the justice system, reproductive rights, and culture.

Editorial fellows in our DC office get a research- and reporting-intensive foray into the life of investigative beat reporters and editors covering Washington. An immersive and fast-paced mix of fact-checking, web production, research, and blogging, the fellowship means working closely with our team of more than a dozen reporters and editors in the Beltway to learn the ropes of reporting breaking news, delivering investigative content, and promoting stories through social media and other outlets.

Fellows may also become involved in various digital projects—including contributing to our food and politics podcasts, working on our newsletters, and aiding with our Climate Desk partnership—depending on interest and need.

We are no longer accepting applications for our December 2020 fellowship cohort. Applications for the 2021-2022 fellowship cycle will open in September 2021.

Social Media Fellowship (San Francisco): Our all-star social media fellows create web content, keep us current on social platforms, and enhance our coverage of breaking news. This fellow will work closely with Mother Jones’ digital news team across our three offices. You’ll learn about every aspect of modern online publishing, collaborating alongside seasoned editors and reporters. Aside from helping promote Mother Jones stories, you’ll help fact-check our website. You’ll also attend regular skill-building sessions covering topics that span the operations of a media organization. Applicants should have experience with the back end of at least one CMS, a working knowledge of HTML and Photoshop, endless enthusiasm for digital storytelling languages, and facility and deep familiarity with social media.

We are not currently accepting applications for this position.

Digital Fellowship (New York City): Mother Jones is looking for a whip-smart fellow to join our digital publishing team in New York City. This fellowship is audio-intensive. We’ll immerse you in the process of turning our award-winning investigative journalism into richly textured, entertaining, and informative podcasts.

Working closely with the digital news team on every aspect of podcast creation, you will sharpen your skills in:

  • Finding and booking surprising guests, and being a cheerful ambassador for our shows;
  • Presenting thorough research and working with editors to shape scripted interviews;
  • Recording field and studio audio, and tracking down archives, news clips, and music;
  • Setting up tape syncs and other remote records;
  • Editing a variety of complex audio timelines, including mixing interviews, clips, and music;
  • Writing program materials, social media posts, and short articles for our website;
  • Keeping show calendars current and producers on task.

At the heart of this fellowship is learning from seasoned editors and producers how to make sharply focused digital content, backed by skill-building sessions covering topics that span the entire organization.

If jumping on breaking news before finalizing the mix for a long investigation, then finally locking in that one guest you’ve been chasing for days sounds like a fun, productive week on Earth (it does to us!), then this is the fellowship for you.

Applicants should possess:

  • Evidence of advanced multitrack audio editing in Adobe Audition;
  • Experience in audio recording skills in the field or studio;
  • The ability to work with a small team while lion-taming personalities across three newsrooms;
  • Organizational prowess to help us keep dozens of balls in the air, week in and week out;
  • Problem-solving skills. These postings always say “must be a problem-solver,” but in this case it’s especially true. We admire colleagues who can take on everyday production challenges and present solutions;
  • Newsroom basics: You know deadlines, you love deadlines; you’re a good writer. (We’re a magazine, after all.)

In addition to application basics listed below:

  • A cover letter should specifically describe how you’d like to reach podcasting glory;
  • Send us 3-5 brag-worthy audio cuts you’ve worked on—and tell us your role in the production;
  • A list of three podcasts you’re listening to now, and a sentence or two on what keeps you listening;
  • Tell us which audio production skills you’d like to improve.

We are not currently accepting applications for this position.

Strategic Communications Fellowship (San Francisco): This fellow will work with Mother Jones’ communications strategist—in collaboration with staff across the organization—to build buzz for Mother Jones investigations and breaking news, increase our impact, and engage with our audience. The communications fellow will assist in pitching television and radio appearances, building communication with key organizations and influencers, and identifying events and speaking opportunities for MoJo staff. He or she will help plan and promote Mother Jones events and test out new ways to engage with its readers, while also tracking Mother Jones’ impact and helping submit its journalism for prestigious awards.

This is a unique opportunity to learn and practice strategic communications, project management, and audience engagement skills while helping a major investigative reporting organization tell important stories and increase its impact.

We are not currently accepting applications for this position.

How to Apply

Mother Jones accepts new fellow cohorts annually on December 1, unless otherwise noted. Deadlines are listed above. To apply to our editorial fellowship, complete this form.

To apply for the digital media fellowship, please submit the following, and the additional materials requested above, to fellowships@motherjones.com:

  • A cover letter and résumé, including the names and numbers of two references.
  • Two writing samples (links to online versions preferred).
  • In the body of your email, please clearly state which position you’re applying for, and in which office, as well as which start date you are interested in.

More About the Fellowship