Merrill College

Merrill College Sends Nation-High Seven Students to DJNF Class of 2021

DJNF interns from Merrill College
From left to right, Merrill College students Caleigh Bartash, Erin Burnett, Rachel Hunt, Anastazja Kolodziej, Zoe Pierce, Abigail Russ and Rina Torchinsky.

PRINCETON, N.J. — Eighty-six college students will work this summer in paid internships at news organizations around the country through the Dow Jones News Fund. The annual program, which provides pre-internship training in business and data reporting, digital media and editing, will place emerging journalists in more than 50 newsrooms, from community-based nonprofits to the nation’s top media companies.

The University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism sent the most students to this year's program with seven: Caleigh Bartash (Stars and Stripes), Erin Burnett (WBAL-TV), Rachel Hunt (The Arizona Republic), Anastazja Kolodziej (Richmond Times-Dispatch), Zoe Pierce (Central Connecticut Communications), Abigail Russ (Patch) and Rina Torchinsky (AccuWeather).

This year’s internship class is the most diverse and inclusive in the fund’s 60 years, with 62% students of color, 75% women, 5% nonbinary/gender-nonconforming and several international and first-generation college students. Schools represented include major public universities, community colleges, the Ivy Leagues, historically Black universities and Hispanic-serving institutions.

Shirley Carswell, News Fund executive director, said, “It’s fitting that the Class of 2021 is our most diverse ever, given the challenges facing the news industry, both in terms of hiring people of color and accurately covering their communities. We value our media partners, who recognize the importance of identifying and developing new talent. Internships are among the best ways to do that.”

The News Fund will again collaborate with the Emma Bowen Foundation and the Texas Press Association to train additional students from underrepresented communities. This year’s class includes five students selected by the foundation, four from the press association and three DJNF interns from 2020 who deferred due to the pandemic.

Students will attend one of the News Fund’s signature one-week training programs online in May or June before reporting to work. The internships are a mix of remote, in-person and hybrid, with each news organization making its decision based on local health and safety guidelines. Students who successfully complete the internships will receive $1,500 scholarships.

Among the 53 companies hiring interns, new partners include Adams Publishing Group, the Chicago Reporter, the Chicago Tribune, Insider, the Kansas City Star, Patch, the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Public Press, Shelterforce, St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Vineyard Gazette and the VT Digger. Returning partners hiring more than one News Fund intern are AccuWeather, Arizent, Barron’s, Central Connecticut Communications, The Marshall Project, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the USA Today Network, which includes several publications.

Here are the interns from Merrill and their placements:

Investigative Reporters and Editors
Directors: Professor David Herzog, Missouri School of Journalism
Charles Minshew, Director of Data Services, IRE

Rina Torchinsky, University of Maryland, AccuWeather

Arizona State University
Director: Mike Wong, Director of Career Services,
Cronkite School of Journalism, ASU

*Erin Burnett, University of Maryland, WBAL-TV
Rachel Hunt, University of Maryland, The Arizona Republic

Temple University
Director: Dr. Ed Trayes, Professor Emeritus

Anastazja Kolodziej, University of Maryland, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Zoe Pierce, University of Maryland, Central Connecticut Communications

University of Texas at Austin
Directors: Dr. Bradley Wilson, Midwestern State University
Beth Butler, freelance editor

Caleigh Bartash, University of Maryland, Stars and Stripes
Abigail Russ, University of Maryland, Patch

*= Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow

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