Improving Ideological Diversity Among Reporters

  • Public-Policy Reform
  • 1977

Decades of research have shown that the large majority of working journalists define themselves as political liberals. Conservatives who consider this a problem have made efforts, with donor support, to train young journalists who are more open to including conservative perspectives in their stories. The oldest of these programs is the National Journalism Center, which since 1977 has offered budding reporters the chance to intern with media outlets in Washington, D.C., while attending journalism classes taught by experienced professionals, many of them alumni of the program. Now operating under the sponsorship of Young America’s Foundation, NJC has put 2,000 beginning practitioners through its 12-week internship program.

The newest effort to introduce more political balance into journalism is the Student Free Press Association, launched in 2010 to give conservative-leaning campus journalists a national website where they can release their work, as well as paid fellowships with publishers of political journalism. And back in 1994 the Phillips Foundation launched the Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship, awarding about $7 million over the next two decades to 130 young reporters in the form of $25,000 part-time or $50,000 full-time fellowships, giving them a year to produce a deeply researched story. In 2013 the program was transferred to the Fund for American Studies.

A fourth program for nurturing conservative or libertarian journalists is the Buckley Journalism Fellowship. Since 2009 it has installed one or two top young writers per year at National Review, the leading conservative politics magazine. The $75,000 cost for each fellow is covered by donations.

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