The Dow Jones News Fund Early Career Training Program is a six-week course for beginning reporters, intended to bolster skills in interviewing, reporting and writing, and provide exposure to industry veterans who share best practices.

Media companies partner with DJNF to send their early career journalists (on the job three years or less) to a series of in-person and online skills training courses. The fellows, selected by their sponsoring newsrooms, meet in person for opening and closing sessions and virtually once a week in between.We tap into our network of seasoned, award-winning professionals to provide intensive instruction and lead thought-provoking conversations. Session topics include:

  • how to pitch stories
  • the art of interviewing
  • tips to improve writing
  • developing sources
  • covering the community
  • self care for journalists
  • safely engaging with readers online
  • using new technology in reporting.

The program was created in response to editors lamenting that  promising young hires get little in the way of professional development. As many organizations have moved to remote work some or most of the time, new employees also have fewer opportunities to soak up newsroom culture and learn journalistic tricks of the trade.

Participating newsrooms commit to providing paid time off for journalists to participate in  online training once a week for four weeks and travel to two-day in-person sessions at the start and conclusion of the program. News organizations also agree to cover each journalist’s roundtrip transportation to the two out-of-town sessions. All training costs are covered by the News Fund, with support  from News Corp Philanthropy.

The next session is scheduled to begin in January 2025. Eligible staff members, those with less than three years of newsroom experience, must be nominated by an editor. Submit nominations here by Nov. 1, 2024.

Previous media partners include McClatchy, USA TODAY Network/Gannett, the Maine Trust for Local News and the Baltimore Banner. Here’s what editors had to say about the training:

  • “[My reporter] has gotten much quicker on producing daily stories and cranking out breaking news. I have also noted a big improvement in how she pitches stories–moving beyond ideas or topics to a more narrowly focused story.”
  • Another said: “[My reporter’s] enterprise story ideas have matured. Her confidence has grown, and her writing is maturing and growing.“
  • “[My reporter] has a better grasp of what he needs to make a story work. His eye for framing stories to draw a larger audience has gotten keener and more effective.”
  • Finally, one editor noted: “[My reporter] started remotely and fully virtual on the team and has not been able to meet a lot of colleagues in the time they’ve been here, so to have them meet with fellow journalists from the network was great. They came back with a renewed sense of passion and love for the craft.”