The 2016 MJ Bear Fellows speak on a panel at the ONA16 Conference in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/Online News Association)

ONA opens 2017 MJ Bear Fellowships for under-30 digital journalism stars

By on June 22, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC — The Online News Association, the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, today opened applications for the 2017 MJ Bear Fellowships for early-career digital journalists, in honor of founding member MJ Bear.

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

Each selected Fellow will receive virtual coaching sessions with a Personal Advisory Board; a free three-year ONA membership and an expense-paid trip to the Online News Association Conference & Awards Banquet, Oct. 5-7 in Washington D.C., where they’ll have a chance to share their fresh perspectives.

“From founders of entrepreneurial start-ups to change agents leading digital innovation, our MJ Bear Fellows continue to expand the boundaries of what’s possible for digital journalism”, said ONA Executive Director Irving Washington. “We’re delighted to support and share the important work of these early-career journalists.”

Last year’s Fellows — Alex Laughlin, News Audio Fellow at BuzzFeed and former social media editor at the Washington Post, Rose Evelith, producer, 30 for 30 Podcasts at ESPN, and Sohara Mehroze Shachi, programme associate at the United Nations Development Programme and freelance journalist, Dhaka, Bangladesh — soon will be posting regular blogs on the ONA website that explain their work and the tools and technology they use. Learn more about the past MJ Bear Fellows.

Applicants must be working journalists between the ages of 23 and 30 and be fluent in English. They will be asked to describe recent experiments or projects that move digital journalism forward or resulted in valuable lessons or outcomes, and also provide a recommendation and a personal statement. Application deadline is July 20, 11:59 p.m. ET.

Learn more and apply for the MJ Bear Fellowship.

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.

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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, educators, students and others who produce news for and support digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.


Jennifer Mizgata

Jennifer Mizgata is Director of Programs at the Online News Association, where she leads the Women's Leadership Accelerator. At ONA, Jennifer focuses on identifying talented digital journalists and innovative journalism projects and providing them with support. Jennifer is a business and design strategist with over a decade of experience creating industry-changing training programs, investing in award-winning projects, and managing key relationships with journalism partners and tech stakeholders. She regularly coaches managers, senior leaders and entrepreneurs on challenges related to their careers and launching new ventures. Jennifer shares advice for navigating tough work challenges in Work Space, a monthly column for Fortune.