An IowaWatch/University of Northern Iowa Science in the Media Collaboration

Eligibility: Iowa college student journalists with a story idea they’d like to see get published, and seeking funds to pursue it.

Fellowship stipend: $1,000

Apply now with a story proposal that says why the story is important, its connection to science and how you would pursue it. Send a story proposal to:   

Questions? Lyle Muller, Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism: 319-389-4477

IowaWatch, the nonprofit news effort by the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, is seeking six Iowa college student investigative reporting projects that explore a problem that is affected in some way – bad or good – by scientific explanation. Story examples could include: lead seeping into water supplies; possible health risks related to improper pesticide spraying; whether people have knowledge, interest or opinions about science; plus many other news story ideas that would inform the public.

We seek six journalism fellows who have story ideas they’d like to pursue while being paid. We will help these fellows produce in-depth, science-related investigative journalism projects that can be published or broadcast by multiple news organizations in Iowa and the Midwest. Successful Science in the Media Fellows will be paid a stipend of $1,000 upon completion of their projects. The fellowships are funded by the University of Northern Iowa Science in the Media project, through a Carver Foundation grant. University of Northern Iowa student journalists especially are encouraged to apply for this opportunity but student journalists from any Iowa college or university may apply.

What you need:

  • A high-impact science-related investigative story to pursue and a treatment on how to complete a thorough story by the end of January 2019. The treatment should include a clear theme; why people should care; sources and data you would use to report the story; potential photos, video, sound and graphics; and a completion plan.
  • A firm grasp via previous reporting experience of journalism ethics, especially when it comes to doing original reporting and writing, following accepted newsgathering and newswriting principles, keeping your biases in check, being authentic with reporting, and a relentless desire for the truth. We’re looking for serious journalists.
  • Self-discipline. You will work on your own time and have to push yourself during the fall semester, winter break and January. (Hint: Finish before break and enjoy it.)
  • Ambition to do well.
  • Desire to make a difference in society.

Science in the Media Fellows will interview leading scientific and environmental scientists in Iowa and region, but also people affected by the problem being investigated. Fellows will translate the specialized knowledge of science into a written or broadcast story (or both), easy-to-use tip sheets and backgrounders on major issues. They can work with information at a University of Northern Iowa Science in the Media online Resource Bank but also will contribute to that resource bank with data they collect and news stories they write., a nonprofit and nonpartisan news organization in Iowa, will work with the student journalists as mentors and editors and help them finish stories to be published at and, and shared with newspapers and broadcast media partners across the state and Midwest.

The Science in the Media project is designed to remedy how often science is dismissed or poorly covered in the news media. We are trying to strengthen the path between science and the news media so that evidence-based news stories can enrich and advance public discourse. (From the Science in the Media statement for the grant supporting the program.)

The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit and non-partisan journalistic program dedicated to producing high quality investigative journalism while training journalism students on this work at a high, ethical level. IowaWatch provides mentorship to college students in Iowa who want to be journalists and helps in getting their work published by newspapers and news web sites, and exposed through broadcast outlets. also publishes their work.

Type of work:

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