Wisconsin Watch intern Zhen Wang, left, conducts an interview in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Entomology. Wisconsin Watch is seeking applicants for its first-ever Diversity Fellowship sponsored by the Fund for Investigative Journalism. The fellowship begins in early 2023, lasts six months and pays $30,000.
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Wisconsin Watch is seeking applicants for a six-month diversity fellowship to pursue an investigative project relevant to Wisconsin. The fellowship will begin in early 2023. 

Wisconsin Watch is one of three news outlets chosen to participate in the Diversity Fellowship program sponsored by the Fund for Investigative Journalism. The other participating outlets are the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting and USA TODAY.

The goal of the fellowship is to “produce strong investigative stories while supporting journalists from diverse backgrounds to advance in their careers.”

The fellowships are open to individuals from groups underrepresented in investigative journalism due to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical ability, gender or religion.

To apply, journalists need to submit a proposal for an investigative story they would work on during the six-month fellowship while embedded in one of these three newsrooms. The Fund and host outlets will review and score proposals jointly. 

Journalists will receive $30,000 for the six-month fellowship, and host outlets will receive modest grants to cover other reporting costs. Fellows will be supervised by key staff at the host outlets, and they will also be able to request free legal help and editorial mentorship from the Fund.

Applications are due Sept. 27, and decisions will be made in November. Journalists who are selected for fellowships will arrange their start date with the host outlet.

Following is short guidance on applying for the fellowship. Prospective applicants can email grants@fij.org with other questions or to arrange a one-on-one meeting with the Fund’s staff to discuss the application process.

  • Proposals for the Wisconsin Watch position must have a state or regional focus.
  • Proposals must be for projects that are investigative in nature, meaning they must expose wrongdoing or injustice that was previously hidden or unknown. Proposals should be for stories that have not been covered before or stories that will significantly advance existing coverage and break new ground.
  • Applicants must submit a short summary of the proposed investigative story (about 100 words) and a full proposal (about 1,000 words). The proposal should clearly explain what information the journalist already has to substantiate the story, as well as an investigative plan for the story. The proposal should provide a clear picture for how the fellow will spend the six months.
  • Applicants will also share a narrative explanation for how they hope the fellowship experience will help advance their career.

The application form and instructions are online here. Applicants for Wisconsin Watch’s position may contact Managing Editor Dee J. Hall at dhall@wisconsinwatch.org to discuss project ideas and to ask questions about working with Wisconsin Watch. 

Below are some of the projects produced by journalists through previous Diversity Fellowships provided by the Fund:

  • Gaming the System, a four-part series in the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, republished by palabra, by Romina Ruiz-Goiriena in 2020. This fellowship was in partnership with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the series helped spark a new federal law addressing corruption in immigration.
  • The Robert Mueller of Latin America, on Reveal by the Center for Investigative Reporting, by Maria Martin in 2020
  • ICE Air, a series of reports revealing conditions on government flights with federal immigration detainees by Angelika Albaladejo in 2020. Her reporting was published in Capital & Main, The Guardian, the Miami Herald and palabra, and received a prestigious Sidney Award.
  • Black Women and Domestic Violence, a series of reports published in The Grio, Ebony, NBC News and elsewhere by Chandra Thomas Whitfield in 2019.
  • Doomed at Birth, uncovering how Jewish laws and customs marginalize children born out of wedlock, even in cases of rape, for Jewish Telegraphic Agency, by Michele Chabin in 2018.
  • A Teenager in Solitary Confinement, documenting one case as part of a much larger issue, in The New Yorker, by Lisa Armstrong in 2017.

About us

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is a nonpartisan, independent nonprofit with offices at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and in downtown Milwaukee at Marquette University.

Our mission is to increase the quality, quantity and understanding of investigative journalism to foster an informed citizenry and strengthen democracy. Our guiding values: Protect the vulnerable. Expose wrongdoing. Explore solutions.

Our multimedia journalism digs into undercovered issues, documents inequitable and failing systems, puts findings into regional and national contexts and explores potential solutions. We aim to spark impact that improves people’s lives and holds power to account.

Our staff trains diverse groups of current and future investigative journalists and entrepreneurs through workshops, internships and fellowships, mentoring and collaborations with journalism classes and news organizations. And we share information about journalistic practices, ethics and impact with the public.

Wisconsin Watch’s reports are published at WisconsinWatch.org, and content is made available at no charge to the public and to news organizations through partners such as Apple News and Microsoft Start, and our own distribution system.

In 2021, Wisconsin Watch produced 74 stories that were published or cited by more than 360 news outlets in Wisconsin and 33 states, Washington D.C., and 13 countries, reaching an estimated audience of more than 60 million. Wisconsin Watch has won dozens of national, regional and state awards.

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