$20 million gift from Robert Allbritton for practical training of aspiring journalists
The path to a strong republic flows through reliable news and information, and that starts with the way journalists are recruited and trained. My goal for AJI is not only to deliver reliable, revelatory, impactful stories, but to help build a vital, diverse future Fourth Estate so that journalism as a whole can continue to serve its crucial role in our democracy.”
Politico founder Robert L. Allbritton has announced that he has committed $20 million to launch the Allbritton Journalism Institute (AJI), a non-profit educational organization and newsroom that will train aspiring reporters to produce fact-based, non-partisan journalism on government and politics.
AJI aims to help restore journalism’s role in the national conversation by educating a new generation of reporters, with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, who can produce work that’s distinctive and both empathetic and brutally honest. The Institute will offer its two-year fellowship program free of charge, and fellows will be paid a stipend of $60,000 per year as they work alongside top reporters and editors on the Institute’s staff to produce a digital news publication launching this fall.
“The path to a strong republic flows through reliable news and information, and that starts with the way journalists are recruited and trained,” Allbritton said. “My goal for AJI is not only to deliver reliable, revelatory, impactful stories, but to help build a vital, diverse future Fourth Estate so that journalism as a whole can continue to serve its crucial role in our democracy.”
Allbritton’s vision is attracting some of the most accomplished political journalists in America. Tim Grieve, the founding editor of both Politico Pro and Protocol, is the Institute’s executive director. Editors include Richard Just, the former editor of The Washington Post Magazine, National Journal magazine and The New Republic; Kate Nocera, currently a senior editor at Axios and formerly the Washington bureau chief for Buzzfeed News; and Matt Berman, the former senior politics editor for Buzzfeed News. Former National Press Club Journalism Institute Program Director Andie Coller is leading curriculum-development efforts. Instructors and mentors include Tim Alberta, a staff writer for The Atlantic and author of “American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump”; DeNeen L. Brown, an award-winning writer who has been at The Washington Post for more than 35 years and is a professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland; Eric M. Garcia, senior Washington correspondent for The Independent and author of “We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation”; and Dianna Heitz, a former assistant managing editor for CNN and deputy managing editor for Politico. Former Politico Chief Technology Officer Blendi Qatipi is AJI’s CTO, and San Francisco-based designer Rachel Gogel is AJI’s creative consultant.
Grieve said he expects to have more than 20 top journalists working with AJI by the fall. Some of those journalists will teach and mentor while working for existing publications; others will work full time at AJI training and mentoring fellows while establishing a new government and politics publication with their own work. “I’ve been talking about AJI with a lot of the journalists I admire most,” Grieve said. “They’ve all immediately seen the need, and they’ve all immediately said, ‘I want to help however I can.’”
The Institute will enroll its first cohort of fellows in September. Just, who is leading the Institute’s admissions process, said AJI is looking for applicants of all backgrounds who want to work in journalism; who have a keen interest in policy and politics; and who believe journalism can and should play a critical role in our democracy. Some fellows may be just out of school, others may be looking for a career transition, and others may be working journalists who are early in their careers. Applicants may apply on the Institute’s website, www.aji.org. The deadline is May 31.
Professional journalists interested in working with AJI should contact Grieve at email@example.com. Individuals and institutions who wish to support the Institute’s work should contact Rachel Hirschberg at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Allbritton Journalism Institute is a Virginia non-stock corporation and has an application pending for tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3).
The Allbritton Journalism Institute does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, marital status or military status in its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship or grant programs, other school-administered programs, employment, recruitment, compensation, or any of its other activities or operations. AJI admits students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, marital status or military status to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.