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The AU SOC USA TODAY Washington Watchdog Fellowship provides scholarship awards and paid work in USA TODAY’s Washington, D.C. bureau to American students. The watchdog fellow will research and report on stories to keep readers informed and the government accountable. The selected fellow will assist the Washington bureau’s 40-plus-member staff in covering significant developments in political areas such as Congress, the White House, and federal agencies.
The fellow will work with the investigative team to gather information for watchdog projects. Working with the organization in this year-long fellowship provides insight into the Washington reporting scene and develops skills that drive successful investigative reporting, such as using FOIA smartly, mining public records, and building data-driven journalism. Successful candidates will have the ability to report news stories with clarity and accuracy while meeting deadlines, as well as a dogged nature and willingness to ask tough questions in pursuit of facts and the truth.
USA TODAY seeks newly admitted American University SOC Journalism and Public Affairs students who can manage multiple tasks and stories in a fast-paced environment and enjoy creating stories based on real people’s experiences.
Key Information of USA TODAY Washington Watchdog Fellowship
Area of Study
Country of Study
American University Washington, DC
Intended Level of Study
Number of Awards
USA TODAY Washington Watchdog Fellowship Timeline
Application Opening Date
Applications for the fellowship usually open on January 1.
The submission deadline is on March 1.
Award Announcement Date
The winner is announced on April 30.
To be eligible to apply, applicants must meet the following criteria.
- Eligible Grade: Graduate
- Maximum Age: Any
- Required GPA: Any
- Geographic Eligibility: United States
- Gender: Any
- Race/Ethnicity: Any
Here’s what you need to submits besides your application.
- Recommendation letters
How to ace the USA TODAY Washington Watchdog Fellowship
Showcase your ability to meet deadlines
Priority is given to students who can report news stories with clarity and accuracy while meeting deadlines. Make sure you demonstrate this ability with examples and try to submit your application as soon as you can.
Share your experience in the newsroom
You are expected to have relevant prior experience in a professional newsroom as an intern or staff member. The judges will also consider your tenacity and willingness to ask probing questions in pursuit of facts and the truth.
Show you can multitask
Demonstrate your ability to manage multiple tasks and stories in a fast-paced environment. You should also show you can build stories based on real people's experiences.
Emphasize your ability to take initiative
You must be willing to take the initiative and listen to constructive feedback. Applicants must be able to work cooperatively as part of a team.
How the USA TODAY Washington Watchdog Fellowship is Judged
Applicants are evaluated based on their leadership skills, multitasking ability, and community service. Applicants are expected to have experience in the newsroom. They must have a keen sense of the news, excellent writing skills, and the ability to work in teams.
Why We Love the USA TODAY Washington Watchdog Fellowship
It helps students develop their journalism skills
The fellowship allows you to gain professional experience while completing your graduate program. You will improve your journalism skills by working in the field with professional teams.
Applicants can apply for more fellowships
The USA TODAY Washington Watchdog Fellowship permits applicants who want to apply for more than one journalism fellowship.
It is a paid fellowship
The fellow will earn up to $30,000 for the fellowship, depending on the number of hours worked, and will receive tuition reimbursement for 18 credit hours.
5 Facts About USA TODAY Washington Watchdog Fellowship
Applicants must be accepted at AU
To be eligible, applicants must be accepted into the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs program at the American University.
Authorization to work in the US
Fellows must be authorized to work in the United States to continue to be eligible.
Interest in the investigative reporting workshop fellowship
Candidates must be admitted to the MA in Journalism & Public Affairs and select an interest in the investigative reporting workshop fellowship as part of their application.
Student fees and health insurance
Student fees and health insurance will be the fellow's responsibility.
Candidates are required to submit two additional letters of recommendation addressing their professional qualifications and how the fellowship would benefit them.