MJ Bear Fellowship for Digital Journalists 2022


MJ Bear Fellowship for Digital Journalists 2022: The MJ Bear Fellowship identifies and supports digital journalists under 30 whose work represents the best of digital news.

The one-year fellowship is designed to provide support and guidance to early-career journalists on a digital journalism project, as well as their own professional development. Themes for projects may include audience and social engagement, product development, and digital or business strategy.

MJ Bear Fellowship for Digital Journalists.

The fellowship provides:

  • Free registration to ONA’s annual conference. Fellows get free registration at digital journalism’s largest event and opportunities to network and share their work. The fellowship covers registration, hotel and flights for ONA22, Sept 21-24.
  • Three tailored coaching sessions. Based on the projects that fellows are working on and the skills they are looking to build, ONA works with industry leaders to design custom coaching sessions for the group. Past sessions have covered topics such as pitching projects, career advancement in a changing world, audience engagement, marketing and entrepreneurship.
  • ONA membership, with three year’s dues paid in full.
  • Additional opportunities to showcase work and expertise. During their fellowship year, fellows share insights from their projects and career journeys to ONA’s community. These insights become evergreen resources for the digital journalism community.


  • June 23, 2022: Applications open
  • July 14, 2022: Applications close 11:59 p.m. EDT
  • August 2022: 2021 fellows announced
  • September 21-24, 2022: ONA Conference
  • Fall 2022: Coaching sessions


  • The fellowship is open to working journalists under 30 who are leading a digital journalism project.
  • Applicants in 2022 must be born between June 26, 1992 and June 25, 1999.
  • Applicants can be working either for a company or organization or be self-employed.
  • ONA encourages freelancers and journalists from diverse backgrounds to apply.
  • Full-time students are not eligible for this fellowship.
  • Review the Program FAQ and application requirements. If you have additional questions, email diana@journalists.org.
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How to Apply for the MJ Bear Fellowship

The application has five parts. Applications and all submitted materials must be in English. Any links you provide as part of the application must be public — with no password required.

Section 1: Contact Information, Resume and Photo

Provide name, date of birth, address, email, phone number, relevant online presences, photo and resume.

Section 2: Project, Experiment, Concept

Provide a description of and link to your digital journalism experiment or project, which is either ongoing or started after Jan. 1, 2021. You should specify your role — whether you were the sole creator or a member of a team. The project should be more than a concept or idea; it should be far enough along to show substantial progress. Themes for projects may include audience and social engagement, product development, and digital or business strategy.

The selection committee is looking for projects that show creativity and innovation. Applicants should explain how their strategy moves digital journalism forward or provides valuable lessons or outcomes.


Section 3: Testimonial / Recommendation

An employer, instructor or technology partner will be asked to fill out a recommendation form affirming the candidate as a standout young digital journalist. The recommender must have knowledge of the applicant’s project in order to confirm the applicant’s description of his/her role in the project.

Section 4: Personal Statement or Presentation

Tell us about yourself in a personal statement or a multimedia presentation. Video presentations are strongly encouraged.

Section 5: Professional Coaching

Fellows will receive three group coaching sessions with leaders in digital journalism who offer practical advice and guidance. Sessions are based on what Fellows need most to advance their projects and their careers. Past sessions have covered topics such as skills building; pitching projects; career advancement in a changing world; audience engagement; marketing and entrepreneurship. In 200 words or less, what topics would you most like covered?

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Apply for the 2022 Fellowship


Complete your application by July 14, 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Key Supporters

The MJ Bear Fellowship is made possible through generous contributions by the MJ Bear Estate, friends of MJ Bear and ONA, MSN International and Microsoft

Founding ONA board member Mary Jane “MJ” Bear played key roles in ONA’s history, helping to incorporate the organization and serving on the Education, Fundraising, Conference and Legal Affairs Committees until 2003. She laid the groundwork for the creation of a fund to spotlight talented early-career journalists. Since 2011, the fellowship has identified and supported 30 MJ Bear Fellows who are producing cutting-edge work in digital media.

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