Early career fellows at The Tennessean office in Nashville. Photo by Denny Simmons

The Dow Jones News Fund welcomed 22 journalists from around the country to its second Early Career Training Program in Nashville last week. The three-day opening session featured a mix of inspirational and skills-based training from award-winning journalists and thought leaders in personal finance and public health.

The 2024 class includes 14 reporters from Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, along with four reporters from McClatchy, which partnered with the News Fund to launch the pilot program last year, two from the Baltimore Banner and two from the Maine Trust for Local News. The participants, hand-picked as emerging talent by their newsrooms, are primarily beat reporters with less than three years of experience.

The News Fund launched the program in 2023 to help position new reporters for success, after hearing editors lament their inability to develop promising young hires amid reduced staffing and shrunken training budgets.

“The Dow Jones News Fund has long been a trusted, reliable training ground for future journalists who’ve participated in our flagship internship program. And, as we’ve learned from newsroom partners and the inaugural cohort of this early career training program, there is a strong appetite for career development opportunities inside local or smaller newsrooms. We’re thrilled to see the program’s expansion with new and returning newsrooms,” said Brent Jones, president of the Dow Jones News Fund.

“We are very fortunate to have a deep pool of talented alumni and friends of the News Fund who are stepping up to train and mentor the next generation of journalists,” said Shirley Carswell, executive director of the News Fund. “Our presenters include Pulitzer-prize winners, industry executives and talented journalists from The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Bloomberg, NPR, The Washington Post, The New York Times and others.”

The Early Career Training program, a natural extension of the News Fund’s mission to develop a well-trained and diverse newsroom workforce, aims to give young journalists a leg up. It provides a series of master classes covering topics such as the art of interviewing, key elements of storytelling and developing sources on a new beat. Veteran news executive Sandra Long Weaver is the coordinating director for the program. For a second year, she has lined up more than a dozen distinguished journalists and other experts to lead sessions that will give the fellows a stronger foundation and teach tricks of the trade that can be used immediately.

“We are pleased to once again partner with the News Fund to provide advanced training for our early-career journalists. Our reporters have already been positively impacted by the recent kick-off training in Nashville, and we are excited for their continued development throughout this year’s program. Ultimately, this training will help them better serve our communities with essential local journalism,” said Monica Richardson, McClatchy vice president of local news.

“Gannett/USA TODAY Network is proud to partner with the Dow Jones News Fund to mentor the next generation of storytellers. The future of journalism lies in their hands and it is our responsibility to support future newsroom leaders as they advance their career,” said Michael A. Anastasi, Gannett vice president of local news.

The News Fund offered the program this year thanks to a generous grant from News Corp Philanthropy. The program concludes February 26-27 in Washington, D.C.

The 2024 Fellows:

Baltimore Banner newsroom:
Penelope Blackwell
Clara Long de Freitas

Maine Trust newsrooms:
Haley Jones, the Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine)
Dylan Tusinski, the Morning Sentinel (Waterville, Maine)

McClatchy newsrooms:
J.M. Banks, Kansas City Star
Brayden Garcia, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Kelcey Norris, Mahoning Matters (Youngstown, Ohio)
Dominique Williams, the Modesto (California) Bee

Gannett newsrooms:
Sarah Best, Jackson (Tennessee) Sun
Jenna Calderon, Asbury Park (New Jersey) Press
Eric Guzman, Detroit Free Press
Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati Enquirer
Brooke Muckerman, (Memphis) Commercial Appeal
Ana Rocio Alvarez Brinez, Louisville Courier-Journal
Elena Santa Cruz, Arizona Republic
Edward Segarra, USA Today
André Simms, Cape Cod Times
Amelia Stern, the Enterprise (Brockton, Massachusetts)
Emiliano Tahui Gómez, Austin American-Statesman
Ananya Tiwari, TCPalm (Florida)
Kai Uyehara, the Kitsap Sun (Bremerton, Washington)
Eva Wen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel