O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism

          Exposing Injustice. Igniting Change.



O'Brien logoO'Brien Fellows spend nine months reporting stories with the power to compel change.

James CauseyJames Causey, 2019-20 O’Brien Fellow

“The O’Brien Fellowship was a career-changing experience because it gave me the opportunity to work on a project I’ve been thinking about for years — bringing the best practices to Milwaukee to improve the lives of those in need."

Backed by Marquette University, the O'Brien Fellowship helps news professionals dig deep while mentoring student journalists.

The program honors Marquette alumni Alicia and Perry O'Brien. Their daughter, Patricia Frechette, and her husband, Peter, donated $8.3 million in 2012 to create the fellowship. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is a co-founder and partner. 

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 The Latest O'Brien-Backed Journalism

  • Climate Change Miseducation
  • Broadband Internet Access
  • Sexual Assault Investigations

Climate Change Miseducation

O'Brien Fellow Katie Worth found that due to conflicting ideas in the education system, many schoolchildren deny climate change is caused by human activities. Worth revealed that these beliefs will have an impact on future policy decisions. 

Katie Worth Climate Change Miseducation

 Photo by Henry Nicholls / REUTERS


Disconnected: The Digital Divide

O'Brien Fellow Rick Barrett and reporting interns found a significant portion of rural Wisconsin lacks access to fast broadband internet due to the cost, low population density and restrictions on areas where cables can be buried.

 Disconnected: The Digital Divide


From 'Hero to Zero'

2019-20 O'Brien Fellow Katelyn Ferral revealed that Guard units have buried sexual assault allegations, withheld crucial documents from victims and retaliated against the women who have come forward. She reported for The Capital Times in conjuction with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

 Teresa James


A Unique Journalism Fellowship

  • Report and produce an in-depth public service journalism project on a regional, national or international topic.
  • Receive a $75,000 salary stipend and additional support.
  • Fellows traditionally are in residence, but we are now taking remote or partial remote applications along with full-residency arrangements. The O’Brien newsroom is housed at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication near downtown Milwaukee and the Lake Michigan shore.
  • Publish or broadcast the project through your home news organization or, in the case of independent journalists, another outlet.
  • Integrate Marquette’s best journalism students into your projects as reporters and researchers.
  • Help identify a journalism student for a university-funded summer internship at your news organization or other publisher.

Marquette University challenges students and staff to “be the difference” in improving the community. The Catholic and Jesuit institution has educated journalists for 100 years.

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