Kroc Fellowships FAQ
What is a Kroc Fellowship?
The Kroc Fellowship is a year-long, intensive training program designed to bring exceptional people into the public radio system.
Why is it called a "Kroc" Fellowship?
The Fellowships have been made possible by a bequest to NPR from Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald's Corporation founder Ray A. Kroc. In 2003, Mrs. Kroc left NPR more than $200 million, which — among other things — is being used to deepen and strengthen the NPR News and Digital Media Divisions.
Who is eligible to apply?
Kroc Fellowships are open to students who are just completing college or graduate school, or who have been out of school for one year or less as of December 31, 2012. In other words, anyone getting a degree between January 1, 2012 and Spring 2013 would be eligible. But someone whose degree was awarded before January 1, 2012 — even a few days before — would not be eligible.
I majored in government (or English, or music, or art history), not journalism. Should I bother to apply?
A journalism background is not required, but neither is it a handicap. We are looking for a diverse group of people with exceptional aptitude and a record of achievement, who show potential for becoming outstanding radio or online journalists.
I earned my undergraduate degree five years ago, worked for a while, then went back to school to get a graduate degree. Am I eligible for a Kroc Fellowship?
Yes. You are "just completing graduate school" and will have been out of school for one year or less as of December 31, 2012.
I graduated a couple of years ago, but I took a course just a few months ago. Am I eligible for a Kroc Fellowship?
Unfortunately, no. We know there may be talented people who don't meet the strict eligibility requirements we have set, but we are focusing on recent graduates.
Do you have to be an American citizen to take part in the program?
No. But foreign nationals must have appropriate employment authorizations.
How many Kroc Fellows will be selected?
We will be choosing three Kroc Fellows for 2013-2014.
What does the Fellowship involve?
Each Fellow will rotate through various units at NPR, in both the News and Digital Media Divisions, receiving training at each stage from an experienced producer, editor, or reporter. Among other things, Fellows will learn how to pitch news stories, find sources, book interviews, report stories, and work in the studio. They will receive regular instruction in writing for radio and on-air performance, and they will work alongside some of the nation's most respected reporters, producers and editors. The Fellows will spend most of their time at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., but each Fellow will also have an assignment at an NPR member station.
Is there a stipend?
Each Kroc Fellow will receive an annual stipend of more than $40,000, plus benefits, including medical insurance and up to three weeks paid vacation. (Fellows will be compensated for any unused vacation upon completion of their Fellowship.)
Is housing paid for?
The cost of housing is not included in the Fellowship. Kroc Fellows are expected to find their own lodging in Washington, though we will offer assistance in locating inexpensive apartments or houses to share. NPR will cover the cost of housing while the Fellow is working at an NPR member station.
How do I apply?
Download an application form. Your completed application should include a resume, academic transcript(s), and a cover letter explaining why you think you should be selected by the Kroc Fellowship Committee. Keep in mind that you’re competing with hundreds of other people from around the country, so make sure to tell us what is special about you – in your background, achievement, character, and so on. To support your application, you should include three references from people who can describe your academic, personal or professional strengths. Finally, send us something you’ve produced that you believe reflects exceptional initiative or accomplishment. Think broadly: You might want to send us a writing sample (of 1000 words or less, please), a link to a web site you created, an excerpt (five minutes or so) from a radio story, video production or musical composition – we’re open to whatever you think will distinguish you from other applicants.
Send your application and supporting materials to:
635 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001
What are the deadlines?
Applications must be postmarked by midnight, December 31, 2012. In late Spring 2013, finalists will be brought to Washington — at NPR's expense — to take part in interviews with the Kroc Fellowship committee. Kroc Fellows will be notified by May 2013. Acceptances are due by May 31, 2013.
I just learned about the Kroc Fellowships, but I missed the deadline. Can I still apply?
Not this year. But depending on when you earned your degree, you might be able to apply next year.
One of my recommenders is going to be away around the time of the deadline. Will you accept an incomplete application?
Generally, no. Since we can't evaluate an application until we have all of the materials, you'll be putting yourself at a disadvantage if you send us a package that is less than complete. Under special circumstances, we will consider accepting a letter of reference that comes under separate cover. In those instances, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining the situation.
Who chooses the Kroc Fellows?
The Kroc Fellowship Committee is made up of managers from NPR's News, Programming, Digital Media and Human Resources Divisions.
Will I have to join a union?
Yes. All of NPR's U.S.-based production employees, editorial assistants, librarians and transcript coordinators are members of AFTRA - the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Kroc Fellows can pay the annual union dues through biweekly payroll deductions.
Will I be on the air?
It depends on where your talent lies. We expect all of the Kroc Fellows to do reporting as part of their training, and we hope that some or all of those reports will be broadcast. But you may find that you do best and are most interested in one of the other, "off-air" jobs you'll be trained for — editing, for example, or working on the NPR web site.
What happens when the Fellowship is over?
Completion of the Fellowship does not guarantee a full-time, permanent job at NPR. However, we hope the experience leads you to pursue a career in public radio. If that's your goal, we'll do all we can to help you make connections at NPR, at one of the hundreds of NPR member stations around the country or elsewhere in the industry. Former Kroc fellows are now working at NPR, at member stations or elsewhere in public broadcasting.
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