The City Bureau Civic Reporting Program is a paid, 11-week opportunity for emerging journalists (Reporting Fellows & Photojournalism Fellows) and mid-career reporters (Team Leaders). Fellows will work in teams with Team Leaders to produce a journalism project on a single, big-picture sociopolitical issue facing communities on Chicago’s South and West Sides. The issue will be predetermined by City Bureau editorial staff, but fellows are able to research and pitch their own projects within that big-picture topic. All participants will also spend several hours a week mentoring high school students at our community media partner.

Projects may include written stories, audio, video, illustration, photography, data visualization, text-messaging services, in-person activities, zines, events and much more. All participants are encouraged to think creatively about how to improve the news & information ecosystem around their big-picture issue.

This is a unique opportunity to develop skills in a collaborative, hands-on learning environment while forging connections in Chicago’s journalism world. City Bureau places an emphasis on racial equity and community engagement, and participants can expect to have critical conversations about the media industry through those lenses. Participants set their own personal goals for what skills and experiences they want to gain by the end of the 11 weeks. Most participants leave the program with a better understanding of the industry, improved skills and published clips (text or other types of stories) — in addition to becoming part of our City Bureau alumni network and our wider community.

See testimonials from past program participants here.

Important Dates: Summer 2019 Cycle

  • Applications go live: May 6

  • Applications due: May 26 at 11:59 p.m. — In rare instances, we will allow extensions due to extenuating circumstances. If you need an extension, contact us ASAP at info@citybureau.org.

  • Interviews: May 28 - June 7

  • All applicants notified by: June 11

  • Cycle begins: June 25

  • Cycle ends: September 4

Programming Note: City Bureau will not offer a fellowship in Fall 2019. Instead, City Bureau editorial staff will enter a planning period and plan to re-launch Civic Reporting Programs in early 2020.


REPORTING FELLOWS

City Bureau Reporting Fellows typically have a demonstrated interest in journalism (either through personal projects, previous training/school, internships, etc.), though no professional journalism experience is required. Reporters should be proficient in journalistic writing skills, and, more importantly, be chronically inquisitive. Successful City Bureau Reporting Fellows are collaborative workers who know how to take the initiative in tackling new reporting challenges. Fellows must be able to juggle scheduling around journalism work (i.e. scheduling interviews with sources and attending community events) and be able to communicate openly with their reporting team.

Special consideration will be given to applicants who have worked closely with South and West Side communities.

Fellows are expected to work 15 hours per week and are paid a $2,750 stipend for the following time commitment:

  • two 2-hour newsroom sessions (Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6-8p) at our Woodlawn newsroom

  • one 2-hour mentoring session (Saturdays, 11a-1p) with our youth media partner organization, Yollocalli Arts Reach, at their Little Village space

  • nine additional hours of reporting/work/meetings as decided by you and your team

Fellowship payments are remitted biweekly and total $2,750 for the 11-week cycle. In addition to the above, Fellows are expected to stay in regular contact with City Bureau staff and colleagues via Slack, a group messaging app.

* Due to the demands of the fellowship, we do not recommend that full-time students apply for this position. However, we may make exceptions for students who can demonstrate their ability to manage multiple time obligations well.

PHOTOJOURNALISM FELLOWS

City Bureau Photo Fellows will work on a personal photojournalism project while also taking photographs to accompany the projects of other Reporting Fellows. The Photo Fellow has the same hourly requirements and stipend as Reporting Fellows (see above); since you will work with all teams, you should have strong time management and organizational skills. You will work closely with a Civic Reporting Resident who is a professional photo editor to develop your photography skills and news judgment, as well as gain insight into the photojournalism profession.

If your application advances to the second stage, you will be asked to sign up for a videochat interview (May 28-June 7) and to complete a Writing Test.


TEAM LEADERS

City Bureau Team Leaders typically have three to five years of professional journalism experience. This position is a unique opportunity to develop editorial leadership/managerial skills while still doing on-the-ground reporting, producing stories and honing your skills of investigation, interviewing and more. (This cycle, we are looking for team leaders who specialize in written journalism.)

Team Leaders should excel at reporting and journalistic writing, ideally have some experience in mentorship and/or community work, and be excellent at time management. Successful Team Leaders are strong communicators; they are ambitious, thoughtful and creative problem-solvers who are willing to think outside the box and approach journalism from a community-centered framework.

Special consideration will be given to applicants who have worked closely with South and West Side communities.

Team Leaders are expected to work 20 hours per week and are paid a $5,280 stipend for the following time commitment:

  • two 2-hour newsroom sessions (Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6-8p) at our Woodlawn newsroom

  • one 2-hour mentoring session (Saturdays, 11a-1p) with our youth media partner organization, Yollocalli Arts Reach, at their Little Village space

  • up to 14 additional hours of reporting/work/meetings as decided by you and your team

Payments are remitted biweekly and total $5,280 for the 11-week cycle. In addition to the above, Team Leaders are expected to stay in regular contact with City Bureau staff and colleagues via Slack, a group messaging app.

If your application advances to the second stage, you will be asked to sign up for a videochat interview (May 28-June 7) and to complete a short Edit Test.