• Marquette campus
    The O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism
  • Diederich Ideas
    Public Service Journalism
    Matching students with professionals
  • Hal Bernton
    Public Service Journalism
    An idea whose time has come

About the O'Brien Fellowship

Backed by the resources of Marquette University and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, O’Brien Fellows will spend nine months researching, reporting and writing the stories they care most deeply about — stories with the potential to change policies and improve lives. This fully funded fellowship allows newsroom professionals to do the best work of their careers on issues of vital importance while they also mentor the next generation of journalists.

During the fellowship, the fellows will:

  • Research and produce an in-depth public service journalism project, to be published or broadcast to the public by the fellows’ home news organizations.
  • Integrate students from the Diederich College of Communication into their projects as reporters and assistants, giving them first-hand experience in public service journalism.
  • Partner with the Journal Sentinel as they wish and have access to its journalists, staff, data and various investigative and presentation resources.
  • Become immersed in the Marquette community and culture to benefit from and participate in the college experience, including having access to university faculty and scholars, guest lecturing or speaking at classes and events across the university, and auditing classes.
  • Help to identify a student collaborator for a university-sponsored summer internship at his or her home news organization.

Additional outcomes of the fellowship:

  • Heightening awareness and understanding of an important issue of our time.
  • Helping to motivate and inform legislative, civil or societal change.
  • Teaching and mentoring Marquette journalism students as tomorrow’s journalists, steeped in the importance of servant leadership through their profession.
  • Reinforcing the principles of self-governance and self-accountability among students.
  • Participating in a two-day conference spotlighting the work of each fellowship project – at an event the Diederich College will produce and host at Marquette in October 2014.

Marquette is a Catholic and Jesuit institution located in the heart of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We challenge our more than 12,000 students, 111,000 alumni worldwide and 2,500 faculty and staff to inspire one another to do and be more. Marquette is also the only one of 28 Jesuit universities in the country to be accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Our university celebrated 100 years of providing journalism education in 2010.


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Meg Kissinger

2012-2013 Diederich Fellow Meg Kissinger's "Chronic Crisis" series on mental health has earned a George A. Polk Award.

Fall Conference

The Diederich College convenes a fall conference that presents work by prior O’Brien Fellows and associated Marquette students.

Lillian Thomas

Lillian Thomas of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette discusses the benefits of the O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism.