ONA opens applications for 2019 MJ Bear Fellowship, expands program with support from Microsoft News

By on June 4, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Online News Association (ONA) is now accepting applications for the 2019 MJ Bear Fellowship and announced new support from Microsoft News to expand the program, providing more rising stars in digital journalism with opportunities to improve their work and showcase their expertise.

The fellowship offers an expenses-paid trip as a speaker at the 2019 Online News Association Conference, Sept. 12–14 in New Orleans; coaching sessions tailored to what fellows need to advance a digital project and their careers; and complimentary ONA membership for three years.

Support from Microsoft News will enable ONA to double the number of MJ Bear Fellows selected each year. In 2019, the fellowship will honor six early-career journalists from around the world who are beginning to drive innovation in digital news.

Applications are due July 11 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

The fellowship was established in 2011 in honor of MJ Bear, one of ONA’s founding members and a digital journalism pioneer. Through generous gifts from Bear, her colleagues and family, the program has supported 24 digital journalists in their career development. The 2018 MJ Bear Fellows include Anand Katakam, Freelance Journalist; Tania Karas, Immigration Reporter/Editor, Public Radio International’s The World; and Vignesh Ramachandran, Web Producer, ProPublica Illinois. Learn more about past Fellows.

The fellowship is open to working journalists under 30 who are leading a digital journalism project. Applicants must be fluent in English. They will be asked to describe recent projects that move digital journalism forward or resulted in valuable lessons and outcomes, and also to provide a recommendation and a personal statement. Learn more about the program and criteria.

“MJ Bear inspired and mentored many young journalists during her career. Microsoft News is very proud to help sustain and expand on the fellowship that bears her name,” said Matthew Lindenburg, Microsoft News Regional Director, U.S. and Canada.

“We’ve seen firsthand how focused support like the MJ Bear Fellowship can be a transformational experience for emerging talent in journalism,” said Jennifer Mizgata, ONA Director of Programs. “MJ Bear Fellows are leading innovation in local news, community engagement and more. We’re proud to be stewards of MJ Bear’s vision and excited to support even more journalists as the program expands.”

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.

For more information, contact mjbearfellowship@journalists.org.

About Online News Association

The Online News Association is the world’s largest association of online journalists. ONA’s mission is to inspire innovation and excellence among journalists to better serve the public. Membership includes journalists, technologists, executives, academics and students who produce news for and support digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association Conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.

About Microsoft News

Microsoft News is a publishing platform that delivers high-quality news from the world’s most popular and trusted publishers, across a variety of web and mobile experiences for Microsoft, including MSN, Microsoft Edge, Windows, Xbox and Outlook.