The Semester in Washington program, supported and managed by the Scripps Howard Foundation, will go on a temporary hiatus, effective May 2016. As The E.W. Scripps Company evolves along with the industry, the Foundation has decided to halt the program to rethink and rebuild it. The program was founded in 1999 and has provided real-world journalism opportunities to students across the country and other parts of the world.
The Foundation will explore new ideas and possible partnerships with colleges or universities to redesign a semester internship program to best meet our mission of educating, empowering and preparing journalism students for a successful future. Stay tuned for a future announcement of what the Foundation will offer next. The program will accept new applicants when the new program is announced.
Q: What is Semester in Washington?
A: Semester in Washington is a program of the Scripps Howard Foundation. It is a year-round journalism internship program founded in 1999 and based in the Scripps Washington Bureau. The program director, assisted by a post-graduate multimedia fellow, trains undergraduate journalism students to report in Washington. Their multimedia stories appear on the program’s website www.shfwire.com and are made available to any news organization that agrees to give the intern a byline and credit the program. The foundation pays stipends to the interns and provides free housing.
Q: Who participates?
A: College juniors and seniors studying journalism at any U.S. university could apply. The program also takes two international students a year and reserves slots for students from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications at Hampton University, Florida International University and the University of Texas at El Paso.
Q: Why was the program halted?
A: With the program director’s decision to retire following the spring 2016 semester and changes to The E.W. Scripps Company over the past year, the Foundation board decided now is the right time to rethink and rebuild the program. The Foundation intends to have a semester internship program. Foundation staff welcomes ideas for developing a program that closely resembles the changing media landscape. The Foundation will consider a variety of goals, partnerships and locations for the revamped program.
Q: When could we expect the program to start again?
A: The Foundation is developing a plan and timeline for the redesign process. We will keep you apprised of any decisions for a new journalism program.
Q: What happened to the journalism interns?
A: About 40 percent of the approximately 400 former interns work in journalism today at newspapers, television stations and digital media. Others moved to other careers after a number of years in the news business.
Q: What will happen to the website and the students’ work?
A: The website will be maintained so readers and former interns will have access to their work.
Q: What will happen to the staff?
A: Program director Jody Beck had long planned to retire in 2016. The foundation will assist post-graduate fellow Heather Khalifa in her hunt for a new job. Her fellowship was to last through mid-August 2016.
Q: What will happen to the interns and applicants for 2016 programs?
A: The fall interns finished their term Dec. 15. The spring program will go on as planned, from Jan. 7 to April 13. The program will cease operations April 13, meaning there will be no summer, short course or fall program during 2016.
Q: What will happen now?
A: The foundation will use the next few months to examine how it can continue to provide high-quality programs to help educate student journalists, either in Washington or elsewhere.
Q: How can I find out what happens?
A: Check in with the Scripps Howard Foundation website: http://www.scripps.com/foundation and the foundation’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/scrippshowardfoundation/?fref=ts