New scholarship diversifies DC journalism internships with $4,000 stipend and free housing

A new scholarship program will provide free housing and a monthly stipend to support student journalists of color who plan to intern at news media outlets in Washington, D.C., beginning in 2023.

The Lewis Scholarship has an estimated value of $10,000 and will be awarded to one undergraduate student journalist of color each fall, spring, and summer semester. The scholarship will provide a stipend of $1,000 per month and free housing provided through Washington Intern Student Housing for the duration of the student’s internship, usually four months. 

Robert “Bob” D.G. Lewis

The scholarship program was established on April 15, 2022, by the family of former Washington correspondent Robert “Bob” D.G. Lewis to honor Mr. Lewis’s tenacity, dedication to investigative journalism, and involvement in leading journalism organizations. 

The Lewis Scholarship furthers Bob and Jacqueline Lewis’s work to improve accessibility to experiential learning opportunities in the nation’s capital for students of color. This partnership, administered through the National Press Club Journalism Institute, will extend the Lewis’s commitment to increasing representation in Washington, D.C., to include news media, adding to their work founding and operating the Washington Intern Student Housing program and the HBCU National Center. 

“Experiential learning is so important to students gaining insight into the real world and workplaces outside of home and school”, said Jacqueline Lewis. “We’re so happy to create this program with the National Press Club to help young journalists who might not otherwise be able to gain access to internships in Washington, D.C. Getting people up on the ladder is the first step to a more representative workforce.”

Mr. Lewis was a longtime Washington correspondent for Michigan’s Booth newspaper chain who retired as a senior editor at Newhouse. Lewis served as chairman of the National Press Club’s Board of Governors from 1975 to 1977. He was president of the Society of Professional Journalists from 1985 to 1986 and chairman of its Freedom of Information Committee from 1978 to 1983.

“We are so pleased that the Lewis family has selected the National Press Club as the home for this life-changing opportunity for students,” said Jen Judson, NPC president. “Not only does the scholarship honor the work of a dedicated former Press Club member and investigative reporter, it pushes the industry forward in essential ways.”

Applications are now open for the inaugural award. The deadline for Spring 2023 applications is 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022. Criteria are outlined on the application form.

The scholarship will be open to currently enrolled college students of color in their junior or senior year of undergraduate study who are at least 18 years old and have at least a 3.0 grade-point average. Graduating seniors may apply for this scholarship if their internship takes place in the semester immediately following graduation. 

Students must independently secure an on-site journalism internship in Washington, D.C. to take place during the semester they would receive the scholarship. We strongly encourage applicants to submit their materials for the Lewis Scholarship at the same time they are applying for internships, rather than wait until they receive an internship notification. Institute staff will verify the applicant’s internship status as part of our review.

If applying for a spring or fall scholarship, scholarship recipients also must be enrolled in online classes at their college or university during their time in Washington, D.C. The $4,000 scholarship will be awarded each semester to a student journalist of color who demonstrates a commitment to a journalism career in the nation’s capital. WISH housing is valued at $6,000 per semester. 

“The Lewis family’s commitment to supporting young journalists of color creates an incredible opportunity for students who feel like landing a dream internship or job in the nation’s capital is impossible due to finances,” said Gil Klein, National Press Club Journalism Institute president and Resident Director for the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. 

Founded in 1908, The National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the United States and around the world.

The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the club’s non-profit affiliate, promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement.

If you’d like promotional materials to share with potential interns in your D.C.-area newsroom, please let us know with this form.

Information: Contact Beth Francesco, National Press Club Journalism Institute deputy executive director 

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