Paid interns being sought in Chicago


Interns are pretty common in broadcasting, but mostly as unpaid gofers whose reward is getting to see the business from inside. But the Pritzker Fellowships at Chicago Public Media are quite different – a nine-month professional mentoring program that is a paid internship.

Chicago Public Media is now accepting nominations for its 2nd Annual Pritzker Fellowships. The Pritzker Fellowships will be awarded to two candidates who aspire to become journalists, who are non-radio professionals, have not earned a degree in journalism and who show promise as radio producers, journalists and storytellers. Chicago Public Media says the fellowship program is designed to fulfill the organization’s most important goal: to discover, encourage and train the best possible representatives of a diverse new generation of public media talent.  

The two inaugural Pritzker Fellows for 2010-11, Icoi Johnson and Samuel Vega, whose training ends this month, had this to say about their experience:

“The Pritzker Fellowship taught me what it takes to make a news story.  Now that I’m on the inside looking out, I have a greater appreciation of how news is made and what it takes to present it to the public.  My most memorial experience working here was definitely working ‘backstage’ during the November 2010 general elections, helping to get that information to the people at home as soon as possible,” said Johnson.

Added Vega, “The Fellowship has helped me identify media and journalism as fields I would like to study and pursue a career in. People invested time, resources and trust in me so that I could be successful. I built strong relationships with editors, producers and various hosts here that will undoubtedly last a lifetime. There was no other way for me to have this experience.” 

Based at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ Radio studios, Pritzker Fellows gain rigorous training in public radio journalism and work alongside the station’s reporters, producers and editors. Instruction will include production and editorial skills, reporting and on-air experience, writing for the air and the web, and multi-media production skills. The two Pritzker Fellows will each receive a stipend of $20,000, plus full health benefits.

All candidates must be nominated for The Pritzker Fellowships by a community-based, not-for-profit organization, including but not limited to neighborhood, religious or social institutions. The program is open to a broad range of individuals, ages and backgrounds, and interested minority candidates are especially encouraged to apply.  Candidates must be nominated by a not-for-profit community organization, demonstrate exceptional communication aptitude, not have earned a degree in journalism and not be enrolled in school during the program

More information is available at and the deadline for nominations is 5:00 pm, April 15, 2011.  The winners will be announced by Chicago Public Media in June. The 2011 Pritzker Fellows will start work in July.