Kroc Fellowship: Frequently Asked Questions More details about the NPR Kroc Fellowship, a yearlong, intensive training program designed to bring exceptional people into the public radio system.
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Kroc Fellowship: Frequently Asked Questions

Rae Ellen Bichell, a 2013-2014 Kroc Fellow, interviews a chaplain after a deadly landslide in Oso, Wash. She was based at KPLU in Tacoma, Wash., for her three-month Member station rotation during the fellowship. Courtesy of Rae Ellen Bichell hide caption

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Courtesy of Rae Ellen Bichell

Rae Ellen Bichell, a 2013-2014 Kroc Fellow, interviews a chaplain after a deadly landslide in Oso, Wash. She was based at KPLU in Tacoma, Wash., for her three-month Member station rotation during the fellowship.

Courtesy of Rae Ellen Bichell

Background

What is the NPR Kroc Fellowship?

The Kroc Fellowship is a yearlong program designed to identify and develop the next generation of extraordinary public media journalists. Three fellows are selected each year and receive hands-on training in audio and digital journalism, including writing, reporting, producing and editing. Applicants must be recent graduates, but previous journalism experience is not required.

Why is it called the "Kroc" Fellowship?

The fellowships were made possible by a bequest to NPR from Joan Kroc, noted philanthropist and widow of McDonald's Corp. founder Ray A. Kroc. In 2003, Joan Kroc left NPR more than $200 million, which — among other things — is being used to deepen and strengthen the NPR news and digital divisions.

What does the fellowship involve?

The fellowship is divided into four, three-month rotations that are spent at NPR in Washington, D.C., and an NPR Member station. Fellows work alongside and learn from some of the nation's most respected reporters, producers and editors. They receive additional instruction from the NPR Training team. Fellows learn how to pitch news stories, find sources, book interviews, report and write audio and digital stories, operate production facilities and more.

Will I be on the air and get bylines on NPR.org?

It depends. 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 or appear on NPR's digital platforms. But you may find that you do best and are most interested in one of the "off-air" jobs you'll be trained for, such as editing or production.

Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply?

Applications are accepted between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 each year. Kroc Fellowships are open to:

  • Recent graduates who have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree on or after Jan. 1 of the application year
  • Current students who expect to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree in the spring before the fellowship begins in August

Do you have to be an American citizen to take part in the program?

No, but foreign nationals must have appropriate employment authorizations.

I majored in [something other than journalism]. Should I bother to apply?

Previous journalism experience is not required. We are looking for a diverse group of people with exceptional aptitude and a record of achievement who show potential for becoming outstanding journalists. Former Kroc Fellows have come from a number of backgrounds, including biology, education and law. More than half of them have had some reporting experience, but all have shared an interest in current events and a passion for discovering new things.

I earned my undergraduate degree years ago, worked for a while, then went back to school to get a graduate degree. Am I eligible for a Kroc Fellowship?

Yes. As long as you are "just completing graduate school" and will have been out of school for one year or less as of Dec. 31 of the year you are applying, you are eligible.

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 are many talented people who don't meet the strict eligibility requirements we have set, but we are focusing on recent graduates.

Application and deadlines

What do I need to apply?

Each completed application must include:

  • Cover letter explaining why you should be selected, addressed to the Kroc Fellowship Committee
  • Resume
  • Sample work reflecting remarkable initiative or accomplishment. This might be in the form of a writing sample (1,000 words or less), a link to an excerpt (five minutes or so) from an audio story, video production, musical composition, etc., or some other piece of creative work.
  • Academic transcripts. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted.
  • Two reference letters from people who can speak to your work ethic and commitment to curiosity, including names and contact information. The letters should be addressed to the Kroc Fellowship Committee and must be emailed to kroc@npr.org as a Microsoft Word or PDF file with APPLICANT LAST NAME, FIRST NAME – KROC FELLOW APPLICANT in the subject line.

How do I apply?

Submit your application here. Applications are accepted only between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 each year.

When is the application deadline?

Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 31.

I just learned about the Kroc Fellowship, but I missed the Dec. 31 deadline. Can I still apply?

No. But depending on when you earned your degree, you may be able to apply later in the year when applications open again in October.

Selection

How many Kroc Fellows will be selected?

We choose three Kroc Fellows each year.

Who chooses the Kroc Fellows?

The Kroc Fellowship Committee is made up of NPR managers and staff from the News, Content Administration and Training divisions.

What is the timeline for selecting Kroc Fellows?

  • Oct. 1: Applications open.
  • Dec. 31: Applications are due.
  • January-February: Applications are reviewed by NPR staff; top-ranking applications are referred to the Kroc Fellowship Committee.
  • March-April: Ten finalists are selected by the Fellowship Committee. Finalists are invited to NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., to take part in interviews.
  • May: The three selected Kroc Fellows are notified; acceptances are due by May 30.
  • Late August/early September: The Kroc Fellowship begins in Washington, D.C.

Stipend and housing

Is the Kroc Fellowship paid?

Yes. Each Kroc Fellow receives an annual stipend of more than $45,000, plus benefits that include health insurance and paid vacation. Fellows are compensated for any unused vacation upon completion of their fellowship.

Is housing paid for?

No. Kroc Fellows are expected to find their own lodging in the Washington, D.C., region. NPR does cover the cost of housing while the fellow is working at an NPR Member station.

After the fellowship

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 media. If that's your goal, we'll do all we can to help you make connections at NPR or at one of the hundreds of NPR Member stations around the country.

Where are Kroc Fellows now?

More than half of Kroc Fellow alumni are still working in public media, including at NPR and Member stations. Past Kroc Fellows have also gone on to work at Marketplace, the BBC, The New Yorker and other media organizations.

Kroc Fellows have also gone on to receive many journalism awards, including: the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Award, Peabody recognition, Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Innovation, an NABJ Salute to Excellence National Media Award and the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 Award.


Still have questions?

Send additional questions to kroc@npr.org during the application period (Oct. 1 to Dec. 31).