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The Sacks Family Foundation has created a Luminary Fellowship for podcast journalism in public broadcasting at three U.S. universities — The University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, The Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, and Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Each university will partner with local public radio stations or broadcast production studios where the students can supplement their classroom work with paid professional experience researching, writing, and producing podcast journalism. 

“Supporting students pursuing this vital vocation has never been more important,” Foundation Chair Michael Sacks said in a statement. “We are honored to support these world-class institutions and their students who are passionate about podcasting and public broadcasting.” 

The grants to the three universities will total $315,000 and sustain the program for three years, after which the Universities and the Foundation will review how well the program is working. While the fellowships are being funded solely by the Sacks Family Foundation, they are named for the subscription podcast platform Luminary Media where Sacks serves as chairman of the board of directors. 

The fellowships will sponsor students pursuing careers in podcast journalism in public broadcasting, providing funds for tuition or stipends. Public broadcast internships are typically unpaid, which the Foundation says contributes to a historic lack of diversity among news and editorial staff. With paid fellowships, the Foundation seeks to increase resources for public broadcasting and boost diversity in public broadcast journalism. It is also encouraging students of color to apply for the fellowships. 

“Our students are eager to produce compelling and impactful journalism whether by broadcast or podcast,” said Willow Bay, Dean of USC Annenberg. “With the foundation’s support, we have an extraordinary opportunity for our students to partner with local news organizations as they build their skills and contribute meaningful stories to our communities.”