Are Fellowships The New Internships?
Some fellowships are completely identical to the unpaid internships of yore (Art F City). Others, as intensive, yearlong training programs, are completely different. But most are internships 2.0. They're paid. They're organized. And they're called fellowships, which sounds like you're an accomplished person, as opposed to a lowly plebe. After all, Toni Morrison was a fellow. Milton Friedman was a fellow. General Stanley McChrystal is a fellow right now.
But while some of these fellowships just sound like really good internships (The Root), and some strongly hint that you might be hired (The Huffington Post), others could just be a cheap substitute for an entry-level employee -- geared toward graduates, longer than a typical internship, with low pay and no benefits, and little promise of an actual full-time job.
The Internship Fellowship
Wait, isn't that just an internship?
Example: The Root Editorial Fellowship
Description: 12 weeks with a "generous monthly stipend."
Tasks: Research, writing, aggregation, photo editing.
Prospects: "Connections, contacts and possible opportunities for advancement at The Root."
The Internship-For-Graduates Fellowship
An internship for people not on a school schedule.
Example: Wired magazine Editorial Fellowship
Description: Six months, full-time, $12-an-hour.
Tasks: Some writing, fact-checking, and administrative duties.
Qualifications: Ideally "college graduates with prior professional reporting and writing experience ..."
Example: Gawker Editorial Fellowship
Description: Paid, hourly employees. Four days a week.
Tasks: Pitching, blogging, research.
Prospects: "And if you're really good (and lucky), one day you could be promoted to an Editorial Assistant."
The Audition-For-A-Job Internship Fellowship
You might actually get hired!
Example: The Huffington Post Editorial Fellowship
Description: Four to six months, full-time, $10-an-hour.
Tasks: Pitching, packaging stories, social media.
Prospects: The fellowship is "to identify potential full-time hires."
Example: The Village Voice Media Group Fellowship
Description: Six months, full-time, $500-a-week.
Tasks: Same as a staff writer.
Qualifications: Fellows "tend to have post-graduate degrees and impressive clip files."
Prospects: Opportunity "to prove that they're worthy of consideration as permanent employees."
Example: Mother Jones, Ben Bagdikian Fellowship Program
Description: Six months, full-time, $1,000-a-month.
Tasks: Fact-checking, researching, pitching.
Qualifications: College graduates with some journalism experience.
Prospects: 1 in 5 staffers started in the fellows program.
The Intensive, Fancy-Fellowship Fellowship
Now that would make General McChrystal proud.
Example: ABC News Fellowship
Description: One year.
Tasks: Rotates through several broadcasts and departments.
Qualifications: At least two years of journalism experience, master's degree preferred.
Prospects: First fellow was hired.
Example: NPR Kroc Fellowship
Description: One year, more than $40,000 and benefits.
Tasks: Production, writing, broadcast journalism.
Qualifications: "Exceptional potential and drive."
Prospects: NPR will "assist in job placement."
Example: NBC, Tim Russert Fellowship
Description: One-year "boot camp," $35,000.
Tasks: Rotations in D.C. bureau.
Qualifications: "Highly motivated individuals," "Proven leadership skills."
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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