The University Record, October 8, 1996

Journalism Fellows Program gets $3.25 million from Knight Foundation

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Services


The Michigan Journalism Fellows (MJF) program has received a $3.25 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, MJF Director Charles R. Eisendrath has announced.

The five-year grant provides $2.25 million to endow three general studies fellowships, as well as the incentive for the University to raise a matching amount to endow specialty fellowships in such areas as education, the arts and new media. In ad dition, $1 million will endow the program directorship.

"The University is very grateful for this generous challenge grant," says interim President Homer A. Neal. "By deepening the base of financial support for the Michigan Journali sm Fellows program, the Knight Foundation is helping the University continue to provide outstanding mid-career learning opportunities for the nation's most promising journalists, energizing them so they can return to their newsrooms better prepared to serve their audiences."

Each year, a board of distinguished faculty and journalists selects a group of national and international mid-career journalists to become Michigan Journalism Fellows. The Fellows are provided full tuition and $30,000 stipends---privately financed by leading news organizations, foundations and individuals---for a full academic year of individualized study at the University.

The new Knight Foundation grant brings its support for the MJF program over the y ears to nearly $5.6 million.

"Jack and Jim Knight understood the importance of giving journalists the opportunity to broaden their horizons and deepen their knowledge through mid-career study," says Creed C. Black, president and CEO of Knight Foundation. "Year in and year out, the Michigan Journalism Fellows program does a fine job of providing such an opportunity to a group of experienced journalists. Our trustees felt the program was deserving of this endowment to ensure a healthy future."

CBS News reporter Mike Wallace, who serves on the MJF board and is a major benefactor, calls the Knight Foundation grant a "great honor that carries with it the equally large responsibility of raising $3.25 million in matching money."

"It is a challenge we intend to meet," he says.

Nancy Cantor, dean of the Rackham Graduate School, says that the Knight Foundation's support for a mix of generalist and specialist fellowships is particularly noteworthy.

"We are absolutely delighted that the Knight Foundation has chosen to support and recognize the efforts of the Michigan Journalism Fellows program," she says. "This is a wonderful program, admirably administered by the director, and we are all excited at the prospect of increasing even further the intellectual and cultural richness brought to our campus by this program."

"Nationwide," Eisendrath says, "Knight Foundation is known for inventing, reinventing and shoring up mid-career journalism education. We are proud to be part of this effort and to be associated with one of the distinctive names in American journalism."