Fellowships

2014-2015 Fellowships:

  • Fellowships for the 2014-2015 academic year have been filled. Applications for the 2015-2016 fellowships are due Nov. 3, 2014.

The Reporters Committee offers legal fellowships each year. The work is challenging, but rewarding. Legal fellows handle legal defense questions in the areas to which they are assigned, and often write amicus briefs in appellate cases.

Fellows work in our Washington, D.C., office. They monitor significant developments in media law, assist with responding to legal defense requests from reporters, prepare legal memoranda and friend-of-the-court briefs, and handle other special projects. In addition, fellows will write for the committee's publications, the quarterly magazine The News Media & The Law, and the daily news updates for our web site.

Post-law school legal experience is preferred for The McCormick fellowship; the other two legal fellows must have graduated from law school and taken a bar exam before the fellowship begins, but need not have passed the exam by then. A background in news reporting is strongly preferred.

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

McCormick Foundation Legal Fellowship

This fellowship is funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The McCormick fellow will be expected to draft approximately six appellate amicus briefs in significant cases involving First Amendment/media law issues during the fellowship, primarily concerning access to court records and proceedings. Preferably, a McCormick candidate will have three years of post-graduate legal experience in a law firm, public interest group, government agency, or judicial clerkship, with substantial experience in appellate brief writing. Strong legal research and writing skills are required. As with all fellowship positions, experience in news reporting is strongly preferred. The fellowship stipend is $45,000, with fully-paid health benefits.

Jack Nelson Legal Fellowship

The one-year Jack Nelson Fellowship for a recent law school graduate honors Reporters Committee founder Jack Nelson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, who for many years was Washington bureau chief of The Los Angeles Times. Nelson, who died in 2009, is a former chair of The Reporters Committee Executive Committee, and served on its Steering Committee for 25 years. The Jack Nelson Legal Fellow will monitor significant developments in state and federal freedom of information law. The fellowship stipend is $43,000, with fully-paid health benefits.

Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Legal Fellowship

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.

Stanton Foundation Legal Fellowship

Please note: Because this is a two-year fellowship, we will not be accepting applicants this year, and will next accept them in November 2015.

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.

How to apply:

One application letter can be sent for all three fellowships. There is no application form. Candidates must submit the following:
 
  • cover letter
  • resume
  • names, addresses and phone numbers for three references
  • short legal writing sample, or sample appellate brief (for McCormick fellowship)
  • news clips or other short non-legal writing sample
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.)
 

See where some of the former fellows are now.