Fellowships

Legal Fellowships:

The Reporters Committee offers legal fellowships each year. The work is challenging, but rewarding.

Fellows work in our Washington, D.C., office. They monitor significant developments in media law, assist staff attorneys responding to legal defense requests from reporters, assist staff attorneys in preparing legal memoranda, litigation materials and friend-of-the-court briefs, and handle other special projects. In addition, fellows write for the Committee's publications, the quarterly ePub The News Media & The Law, and news updates for our website

Fellowships start in September and end the next August, but all hiring is typically done the previous winter.


Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Legal Fellowship

Deadline: Nov. 2016 for Sept. 2017 start

The Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Legal Fellowship is a one-year fellowship that focuses on First Amendment issues, primarily involving libel, invasion of privacy, and protection of confidential sources and materials. It is funded by the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation. The fellowship stipend is $43,000, with fully paid health benefits.


First Look Media Technology Fellowship

Deadline: Currently accepting applications for Sept. 2016 start

The First Look Media Technology Fellow will help RCFP respond to this changing environment by focusing on the intersection between technology and media law. Among other things, the First Look Media Technology Fellow will help develop and expand RCFP’s relationships with the technology community and digital and data journalists, and take a lead role in directing RCFP’s policy and litigation work on issues including—but not limited to—cybersecurity, the future of media, free expression, access to government data, privacy, intermediary liability, and government surveillance. The fellowship stipend is $66,666 with fully paid health benefits.


Knight Litigation Attorney

Deadline: Currently accepting applications for Sept. 2016 start

The Reporters Committee is now accepting applications for a new attorney position to support the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Litigation Project. This position will provide an early- to mid-career litigation attorney the opportunity to work with other Reporters Committee attorneys to provide needed pro bono legal assistance to journalists and news organizations — including freelance and independent journalists, and nonprofit news organizations. This Knight Foundation-funded attorney position will focus primarily on litigation involving access to courts and public records, particularly at the state level, and on press freedom issues impacting digital media.

The position will report directly to our Litigation Director. The successful attorney applicant will work on small litigation teams and be expected to participate in all aspects of the First Amendment and media law cases handled by Reporters Committee attorneys as part of the Knight Litigation Project, including motion practice, discovery, brief writing, and hearing/oral argument preparation.


Stanton Foundation Legal Fellowship

Deadline: Nov. 2017 for position starting Sept. 2018. The position is filled through Aug. 2018.

The Stanton Foundation fellow will spearhead our work in free press, national security, and surveillance policy. With the Stanton fellowship, the Reporters Committee hopes to be able to play a larger role in helping the news media develop its own set of priorities and strategic initiatives in these ongoing debates. We anticipate that candidates for the position may be judicial clerks, associates at law firms, fellows or staff attorneys at public interest organizations, or other recent law school graduates. The fellowship will entail a combination of brief-writing, public advocacy, and freedom of information activity. The fellow will also respond to requests from reporters, work on special projects, and write for our website and quarterly magazine. Because it is a two-year program, the fellow is expected to complete a significant research project by the end of the fellowship term. A demonstrated interest or experience in journalism, First Amendment law, or national security issues is preferred. Post-law school work experience is also preferred, but we will accept applications from third year law students. The new Stanton fellow will be paid an annual salary of $68,000 in addition to receiving full health benefits.


Stanton Foundation Media Litigation Fellowship

Deadline: Nov. 2016 for Sept. 2017 start

The Stanton Foundation Media Litigation Fellowship is a new opportunity for an early-career lawyer to play a hands-on role in the full scope of First Amendment and free press litigation matters handled by Reporters Committee staff attorneys.  The Stanton Foundation Fellow will report directly to our Litigation Director and work on small litigation teams with other legal fellows and Reporters Committee staff attorneys on a variety of First Amendment and media law cases, with a focus on assisting with access to courts and freedom of information litigation brought on behalf of the Reporters Committee, journalists, and news organizations.

The Stanton Foundation Fellow will participate in all aspects of state and federal litigation at both the trial and appellate level, including motion practice, discovery, brief writing, and hearing/oral argument preparation. 

Candidates for this challenging and rewarding two-year fellowship should have a demonstrated interest in the First Amendment and media law.  Post-law school judicial clerkship, fellowship, and/or litigation experience with a law firm or public interest organization is strongly preferred.  However, recent law school graduates with strong credentials will be considered.  Applicants should be admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction or awaiting bar exam results/admission in at least one jurisdiction at the start of the fellowship term.  Applicants who are not members of the D.C. Bar will be required to seek admission.  The Stanton Foundation Fellow will be paid an annual salary of $68,000 and will receive full health benefits. 

The Stanton Foundation was created by Frank Stanton, the president of CBS from 1946 to 1971.  Among his accomplishments at the network’s helm, Stanton initiated the first televised presidential debates — the famous Kennedy-Nixon “Great Debates,” developing a format that subsequently became a staple of electoral politics.  The foundation’s interests include classic and 21st-century First Amendment issues and the larger challenge of creating a better-informed citizenry.


How to apply:

One application letter can be sent for any or all fellowships. There is no application form. Candidates must submit the following (unless otherwise specified in a particular posting above):
 
  • cover letter
  • resume
  • names, addresses and phone numbers for three references
  • short legal writing sample, or sample appellate brief
  • news clips or other short non-legal writing sample
  • Applicants with less than one year of post-law school experience must also submit a final law school transcript.
Please send applications to:
 
fellowships@rcfp.org
 
or to:
 
Bruce D. Brown
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1156 15th Street NW, Suite 1250
Washington, D.C. 20005-1779
 
(If sending by email, all documents must be in the form of Word documents or PDFs.)