ONA opens MJ Bear Fellowships for early-career digital journalists

By on April 15, 2011

The Online News Association, the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, invites applications for the 2011 MJ Bear Fellowships for early-career digital journalists, in honor of founding member MJ Bear.

For this inaugural year, the search committee will select three promising, up-and-coming digital journalists—two in the United States or Canada and one internationally, in partnership with MSN International—who are just beginning to make their voices heard in the industry.

Selected Fellows will be paired with a digital news leader as a mentor; receive an expense-paid trip to the Online News Association Conference & Awards Banquet (ONA11), Sept. 22-24, in Boston, where they’ll have a chance to share their fresh perspectives; and a free, one-year ONA membership.

The goal of the Fellowship, in Bear’s own words, is “to promote the voices of young professionals working in or training to work in the field of online news by presenting programs at ONA’s annual conference, or in other venues. The programs will be designed to explore and showcase innovations, developments and new ideas in the field.”

Applicants must be working journalists between the ages of 23 and 30 and fluent in English. They will be asked to describe their recent concepts, experiments or projects that move digital journalism forward or resulted in valuable lessons or outcomes, and also provide a recommendation and a personal statement.

• Review the criteria here
• Apply here

“We see the Fellowship program as a great way to help the next generation of journalists innovate and succeed in the industry,” said ONA Board President Christine Montgomery, Managing Editor, PBS.org. “We’re looking for young people as eager to lead as they are to learn, who have demonstrated their commitment to pushing the boundaries in creating digital news.”

Bear, whose wide-ranging career took her to pivotal roles at Microsoft’s MSN Portals and MSN International, NPR and American University, was renowned for her kindness and digital know-how. She played a vital role in ONA’s history as a member of the original Board of Directors, helping to incorporate the organization in 1999 and serving on the Education, Fundraising, Conference and Legal Affairs committees until 2003.

So far, friends of MJ Bear and ONA have contributed nearly $40,000 to the fellowship fund. The MJ Bear Fellowship Committee will continue planning both short- and long-term goals to realize the letter and spirit of her wishes, and to build fundraising campaigns to expand the fellowships and shape the future of young journalists.

Tax-deductible donations to the MJ Bear Fellowship Fund can be made at journalists.org.


The Online News Association is the world’s largest association of digital journalists. ONA’s mission is to inspire innovation and excellence among journalists to better serve the public. The membership includes news writers, producers, designers, editors, bloggers, developers, photographers and others who produce news for the Internet or other digital delivery systems, as well as academic members and others interested in the development of online journalism. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association annual conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.

For more information, contact:
Jane McDonnell, Executive Director
Online News Association
director@journalists.org

Jane McDonnell

As executive director, Jane oversees and manages the day-to-day operations of the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, working closely with the Board of Directors. Her purview includes membership, partnerships, global community outreach, budgeting and revenue generation, fundraising and development, the Online Journalism Awards, and providing vision for ONA’s state-of-the-art annual conference.