FAQ for Journalists

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We look for journalists who will do great work, can overcome challenges, solve problems and be an asset to their community and newsroom.  Corps members are typically early career journalists with one to three years experience and have a strong commitment to public service.  In the application we look for:

  • Concrete evidence that the applicant can do journalism
  • Demonstrated passion for writing and reporting
  • A minimum of one completed professional internship
  • For recent college graduates, preference will be given to those who held a leadership position at their college newspaper and who completed a minimum of one professional internship
  • A minimum of five (5) professionally published clips that can show range and depth of work
  • An in-depth writing sample 
  • Two strong recommendations supporting the candidacy of the applicant

You will work for a local news organization that has competed for the right to host you. Isn’t that flattering? They might be a public radio station, a newspaper, a TV station, a website — really any high-quality local news organization that can put you to great use. 

Applications for the 2024-2025 Report for America corps member cohort will open in December 2023 and will close at the end of January 2024. If you’re a finalist, you’ll hear from us in March. You’ll interview with one or more newsrooms in March or early April, and you’ll learn at that time whether a newsroom has selected you as its Report for America corps member.

Your program year begins July 2024.

You do get to express preferences. Corps members have felt especially supported when their newsroom is located in an area where they have some history—family or friends in the region or a general sense of the place. 

Report for America is a two-year program with a one-year check-in. Positions begin in  July.  We also offer an optional third year, which will include newsroom leadership training for corps members. 

The salary is set by the local newsroom, and is equivalent to that of a reporter in your region with your experience level. As a result, salaries will vary, but the current median salary for a Report for America corps member is $46,000. 

You will be an employee of the local news organization. You will be edited and managed by them.

Report for America aspires to create a movement—an effort to re-establish journalism as a calling and a public service. We are unapologetically idealistic. This is about fighting for truth and strengthening our communities. We also have a service requirement to underscore the idea that journalism should be geared toward helping a community, not undermining it. That doesn’t mean we want you to become town boosters. Sometimes that help may come in the form of presenting uncomfortable truths and holding powerful institutions accountable. But that’s all in service of equipping residents with more information and power.

We think local journalism is public service in itself, but Report for America corps members also provide roughly two hours per week of additional direct service in the community. Your focus should be on youth media, such as helping high school journalists with their newspaper. We’ll help you select and manage your project.

Yes, yes and yes. As you know, news organizations are hungry for multi-talented journalists. But we may also find that news organizations have specific needs, in which case we’ll match reporters with specialties with those newsrooms that most need them. As a baseline, everyone must write well and report well.

There’s no age limit, though the program is mainly for early-career journalists—those relatively new to the profession with a few years of experience.  We welcome experienced journalists to apply and even have a small cohort for mid-to-late career journalists with eight or more years of experience.

Only in rare cases. Report for America is focused on improving local reporting.

Report for America will pay moving expenses up to $750 to get you to your new job if your newsroom doesn’t pay a moving stipend. (If your newsroom offers a lesser moving allowance, we’ll pay the difference.)  

No. We have great respect for high-quality advocacy journalists of all stripes but this particular program is focused on nitty-gritty objective reporting. In fact, while you’re an RFA corps member, you won’t be allowed to endorse particular candidates or advocate sides of any issues that your news organization might be covering.

We prefer that you’re utterly focused on and obsessed with your reporting. But if your newsroom allows part-time work, your editor is fine with the idea and you’re a corps member in good standing, we won’t stand in the way. 

You don’t have to be, though you can be. Our experience has shown that locals can provide great insight about the community while out-of-towners often can bring fresh perspective. 

At the start of the program, you’ll spend time learning from expert journalists and other trainers about your beat, specific skills to know, and more. Ongoing training throughout the year will build on that. You’ll also have the opportunity to be paired with a mentor who will give you personal, ongoing guidance.

International journalists may apply if they are authorized to work in the U.S. for two or more years. (Don’t apply if you need to find a sponsor after a year.)

Yes, most of these position require that you have your own car. Should you become a finalist and interview with a newsroom, definitely confirm this detail. 

You need to arrange your own housing. But your newsroom and our network of hundreds of other corps members are great resources to help you.