The new John H. Taylor Jr. ’75 Journalism Scholarship will be awarded each semester, offering a stipend of $2,900 for communications students working in unpaid internships in the field of journalism.
Funded by John H. Taylor Jr., class of ’75, this new scholarship acknowledges the fact that most journalism internships are unpaid and students can have trouble getting by without income.
“It’s essentially like a paycheck,” said Tom Ksiazek, the area coordinator for journalism in the communication department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “We had a little bit of leeway in how exactly it was going to be distributed so that was the choice that we made collectively, that it should go as a stipend, which is essentially one lump sum paycheck to supplement an unpaid internship.”
Open to junior and senior communication majors, the scholarship has a variety of selection criteria.
The student must be in an internship with a high level of responsibility at a respectable news organization, have a strong academic record, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and be able to show a connection between the scholarship and their overall career goals.
“This should be a substantial internship,” Ksiazek said. “This should not be writing for your friends’ sports blog. It should be writing for an established newspaper or a TV station, and also one where it’s clear that you’re going to be getting a high level of responsibility as opposed to the ‘getting the cup of coffee’ internship.”
In order to prove the legitimacy of the internship, applicants must also send in a letter from the internship provider confirming the internship’s merits and ensuring that the student has been hired for the internship.
The other big factor in the application process is the essay, in which the applicant must connect the internship and their use of the scholarship funds to what they want to do in the field of journalism.
“Basically draw that link from ‘the funds will allow me to do this internship, which will allow me to pursue my career goals.’ Showing that logical connection, I think, is important,” Ksiazek said. “It is clear that the alum wants to be kept up to date with who is being selected, where they’re interning and what they’re doing. To that person it was clear in this agreement that he wanted to see that he was going to make a difference for these students so we’re kind of looking for something like that in the essay.”
The development of the scholarship first began when the communication department was approached by University Development.
They explained that John H. Taylor Jr. ’75 had expressed interest in creating an endowed scholarship for journalism internships, which are traditonally unpaid.
Communication Chair Maurice Hall, communication internship coordinator Juanita Weaver, internship director for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Office for Undergraduate Students, Danielle Tadros, and Ksiazek then met to determine how the money would be spent, who would be eligible, what the application process would be, how to promote the scholarship and all of the details of the scholarship.
These four also make up the selection committee. Ksiazek says that they have received substantial interest so far but no official applications have been sent in, as the deadline is not until Dec. 2.