The 2016-17 O’Brien Fellows are Jackie Crosby, a business reporter at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis; Mark Johnson, a health and science reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Christine Steele, who covers U.S. border issues for the Sierra Vista Herald in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
Begun in 2012-13, the O’Brien Fellowship has already enabled 11 journalists to produce in-depth public service journalism projects ready for publication by their home or other news organizations. Many of the prior works by O’Brien Fellows have earned significant national awards and or changed public policies.
During their nine months at Marquette University, O’Brien Fellows integrate students into their projects as reporting interns and research assistants. This gives them first-hand experience alongside a veteran journalist, and the potential of a university-sponsored summer internship at one of the newsrooms.
“The O’Brien Fellowship this year received its highest number of applications – and the best collection of potential projects – to date,” said Ana Garner, interim dean of the College of Communication. “We are excited that more and more journalists, from newsrooms of all sizes, recognize the benefit of becoming immersed in the Marquette community, including having access to university faculty and scholars. The collaborations and resulting work are a win-win for everybody, most especially the public at large.”
Nearly 50 graduate and undergraduate students have spent at least one semester helping O’Brien Fellows. A few have either earned newspaper bylines or produced Web-based videos related to the projects. Several have traveled on reporting and research trips with fellows across Milwaukee and Wisconsin; to states such as California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada and Texas; and to two countries: Belgium, China and Peru.
O’Brien Fellowship director Herbert Lowe said the program has helped to raise the bar for students.
“The fellows are not only attracting journalism majors, but also those who enjoy research or want to adapt class lessons to critical matters affecting real people,” said Lowe, who is also the Diederich College’s journalism professional in residence. “Sitting regularly with someone who is gracious yet tenacious, flexible yet precise, always thinking big picture but cares for the smallest details – it all goes a long way toward showing what it takes to be successful in whatever workplaces await our graduates.”
Learn more about the success our prior O'Brien Fellows and recognition for their work via Marquette's News Center.