Berkeley Journalism begins pilot internship program for students

August 12, 2021

With the aid of $245,000 from the Knight Foundation, Berkeley Journalism creates new program to guarantee students a paid summer internship between the first and second year of the school’s prestigious two-year graduate program.

To address the lack of diversity in the field and cutbacks in internship budgets around the country, Berkeley Journalism announced today a new pilot program guaranteeing equitable, paid summer internships to all of its students. The pilot program is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with fundraising for future years expected to roll out soon.

Many newsrooms leverage their internship programs to bring in diverse and new talent. But due to constriction in the industry, many of the same newsrooms have experienced staffing cutbacks, especially for paid interns.

This has proven especially devastating to students who are first-generation and from historically marginalized groups who often do not have the resources to support themselves in unpaid or underpaid internships. Without internships, it is much more difficult for these students to launch careers in journalism.

With the aid of $245,000 in support from Knight Foundation, Berkeley Journalism has brought forth an impact-focused solution. With a proud history of diversity in our student body — nearly 50% of whom identify as being from historically marginalized groups and over 35% who identify as first-generation college graduates — we will support 80 or more students with a maximum of $5,000 for a summer internship between their first and second year. In instances where hiring newsrooms do not provide Berkeley Journalism interns with a paid position, Knight funding will support $5,000 in compensation.

Geeta Anand

Geeta Anand, dean of Berkeley Journalism. Photo: Wesaam Al-Badry (’20)

“Our belief is that for the industry to fulfill its critical role in upholding democracy, journalists must represent the lived experiences of all Americans so our storytellers represent the class, caste and gender diversity of all of us,” said Geeta Anand, dean of Berkeley Journalism. “This Knight grant transforms our ability to place students in internships everywhere, from cash-strapped local and regional newspapers, to non-profit documentary film production houses. We could not be more pleased to take the limits off who gets to become a journalist by partnering with the Knight Foundation to creatively combat our industry’s most challenging problems.”

The first Knight-funded internships began this summer.

 

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