MPA partners with Missouri School of Journalism, RJI to launch new Rural Missouri Newspaper Scholarship

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This scholarship will help attract students to the MU J-school and prepare them for leadership roles at rural Missouri newspapers.

Missouri students can now apply for the Rural Missouri Newspaper Scholarship, a need-based award for up to $40,000 for qualifying students attending the Missouri School of Journalism for four years (eight semesters). Students chosen for the program must be pursuing a degree in journalism or strategic communication, and upon graduation students receiving the scholarship will be expected to work for a rural Missouri newspaper for at least two years.

Two students will have the chance to receive funding through the scholarship beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. Qualification for need is determined through the federal FAFSA program. Students will also receive an additional $5,000 summer fellowship funded by the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) and can apply for a further $1,200 from RJI’s Potter Digital Ambassador program.

The Missouri Press Foundation (MPF) and the Missouri School of Journalism are eager to attract Missouri high school graduates to the School of Journalism with the goals of preparing them to take leadership roles at rural Missouri newspapers and helping those students finance college degrees in journalism. This scholarship program is intended to attract such candidates and assist publishers with finding qualified candidates.

Brian Brooks, MPF president and professor emeritus at the Missouri School of Journalism, said the Rural Missouri Newspaper Scholarship will give small newspapers around the state a leg up when recruiting new hires.

“Every year, rural newspapers around the state struggle with finding journalism-trained staff who can provide the kind of coverage that is critical whether your coverage area is 500 or 5,000 people,” Brooks said. “We believe a lot of up-and-coming journalists have the potential to fall in love with rural newspaper journalism. This scholarship will help get more well-trained students into these newsrooms and help eliminate the anxiety that comes with paying for school and securing post-graduation employment.”

Students chosen for the program must pursue a degree in journalism or strategic communication and must take at least one advertising course and one marketing course. Scholarship recipients will be asked to spend a summer working at a rural Missouri newspaper (minimum of 10 weeks) through RJI’s summer fellowship program, which includes a stipend of $5,000.

MPF will work directly with Missouri newspaper publishers to find the best match for a student. The intent is for the student to fulfill the two-year post-graduation requirement at the newspaper where he or she interned, but that may not always be possible. Newspapers will be expected to help the student find housing for the summer internship program and assist with finding housing for the post-graduation period.

An application for the Rural Missouri Newspaper Scholarship can be found online here.

Please contact Missouri Press Executive Director Mark Maassen with any questions at (573) 449-4167, ext. 308, or mmaassen@mopress.com.

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