ESPN announced a new partnership today with American University to create a fully-funded fellowship in investigative journalism.

According to the release, the position will be available to grad students, and it’s initially funded for three years.


The fellowship will allow early-career journalists the ability to earn a Master’s degree at American University’s renowned School of Communication in Washington, D.C. while working in the Investigative and Enterprise Journalism Unit at ESPN. 

The one-year fellowship will embed a full-time graduate student alongside ESPN’s investigative and enterprise journalists – reporters, producers and managers who have earned journalism’s highest honors, including Pulitzer Prizes, Peabody Awards, duPont Awards, Murrow Awards, NABJ Salute to Excellence Awards and Emmys, among others. The fellow will be mentored by journalists in various areas, including sourcing, reporting, data journalism, freedom of information requests and challenges, and how to protect their own mental health when confronting difficult circumstances during reporting and post-publication. 

ESPN is obviously one of the most visible media companies in the country, and while there are certainly questions to be asked about the inherent conflicts of interest that can present themselves when a corporation is paying leagues for live rights while also covering them, ESPN has a talented roster of investigative reporters doing great work. (It would be awesome if it were even more prominent, but here we are.)

And for a prospective reporter, it’s hard to argue with the experience and resources this fellowship offers:

For the duration of the program, the fellow will work on developing their own research and reporting, while learning how reporters and managers prepare their work for audio, digital, television and streaming properties. Throughout the program, the fellow will also have access to ESPN’s offices in Washington, D.C. and Bristol, Conn. 

This is a good thing overall; sports media, in particular, is in need of more quality journalists, and ESPN deserves credit for their role in creating this program.


About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.