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Marquette-Based Fellowship Allows Professional Reporters To Pursue Public Service Journalism

Mustafa Khayat

As a two-day conference at Marquette University wraps up, some remarkable long-form public service journalism is being featured.

In a time when newspapers are shrinking – often both in staff and in the number of pages being printed - the work on display represents what is still possible from the fourth estate.

It’s work that was made possible by the year-long O’Brien Fellowship for Public Service Journalism fellowship through Marquette University and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"I wish we had money, I wish we could figure out a way to make more money in the newspaper business, but since we can't, this kind of fellowship attached to a university is very beneficial," Lillian Thomas of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says.

O’Brien Fellows spend nine months researching, reporting and writing the stories they care most deeply about, while also allowing the opportunity for students to work with newsroom professionals.

Hal Bernton, a reporter with the Seattle Times, and Lillian Thomas were among the program’s first full class of fellows. Erin Caughey is a recent Marquette graduate who worked with the professionals in the program. They all join Lake Effect's Mitch Teich to discuss the stories the fellowship allowed them to explore.

Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.