Our LaunchPad Fellowship for NextGen Journalists is designed to empower early-career journalists who are passionate about reimagining journalism and community storytelling through the lens of racial equity and social justice.

LaunchPad strives to help talented journalists from diverse backgrounds enhance their professional capacity, connect with colleagues and new mentors, broaden their career development skills, and produce community-centered, social justice-focused journalism with impact.

The ideal applicants should have three to six years of experience as a professional journalist in any media platform in order to qualify as an early-career  journalist.  Additionally, we’re looking for a diverse and talented group of journalists who have a commitment to social justice-focused journalism and to telling the stories of their communities with depth, compassion and authenticity.

We believe this “next generation” of journalists, particularly those from communities whose voices and stories have been historically misrepresented, underreported or ignored by the mainstream media, have a critical role to play in transforming journalism and the media ecosystem. Their diverse perspectives—and their willingness to challenge the status quo and to experiment with bold new approaches to news and community storytelling—are essential to reinventing media as a vital and trusted source of education, civic engagement, social justice and democracy.

Read more about our 2022 Fellows and Mentors.

Read our news announcement about our 2022 LaunchPad Pilot Project.

About the Fellowship

Our nine-month fellowship program is designed for early-career journalists from all media platforms who have the skills, expertise and desire to tackle an ambitious in-depth reporting/storytelling project on a critical social justice issue facing the U.S.

Fellows will work independently to conduct research, interviews and other reporting/producing activities needed to complete their proposed project. They will be challenged to delve deeply into their selected issue; to explore its real and human impact on our nation’s historically marginalized communities; to expose the systemic drivers that contribute to the problem; and to explore possible remedies and solutions.

LaunchPad Fellows Receive:

  • A $5,000 grant to offset living expenses while conducting their research and reporting.
  • An intensive, three-day in-person learning/training experience.
  • Skills-building webinars throughout the fellowship year.
  • Nine months of professional/project mentorship and coaching.

For More Details & FAQS

Apply Now (Deadline is July 12, 2024)


Why Now? Our Vision

Journalism and our nation’s media are at a pivotal crossroads.

The social upheaval of the past decade exposed the racism, social fissures and systemic inequities that have long plagued our nation and our media institutions. The ever-growing demise of local news outlets across the country has also had a devastating impact on our local communities, resulting in media deserts throughout the nation, waning civic engagement, a soaring rise in misinformation, and dwindling governmental accountability.

Spurred by these crises, many journalists and the public have demanded a reckoning—a “radical reimagining”—of mainstream media. This has led to renewed demands to diversify the staff of newsrooms and regain public trust; to improve and expand coverage of communities of color and other disenfranchised groups; and to radically rethink business models.

While one generation can’t single-handedly “save the media,” we believe that early-career journalists with a deep commitment and calling for their work, can and should play a critical role in transforming the news industry. Yet, our research has uncovered a disturbing reality: Many aspiring journalists—particularly those who are from communities of color and working-class backgrounds—confront significant barriers to getting and keeping their foot in the door. The obstacles include low pay or no pay for entry-level jobs and internships; inability to afford the high costs of professional development programs; feelings of isolation within white, male-dominated newsrooms; and a dearth of trusted mentors and colleagues.

The tragic bottom line is that we risk losing many talented journalists, even before they can get a toehold in the profession. With LaunchPad, Renaissance Journalism aims to give these journalists the support they need to ensure that their essential voices, diverse perspectives and stories become an integral part of the positive changes we want to see in the media.

Our warmest thanks to The Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Ford Foundation for their support of LaunchPad.