Since 1984, the Los Angeles Times has helped budding journalists launch careers and boost diversity in newsrooms through its innovative Metpro training program. It’s now time to move to the next chapter.
The Los Angeles Times Fellowship will carry on that spirit and do the important work of finding, training and cultivating tomorrow’s diverse news journalists.
The Los Angeles Times is seeking high-potential, highly-motivated aspiring journalists from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. The program’s main thrust is to provide participants – recent college graduates or journalists with limited professional experience – the training and support necessary to put them on a fast track to success.
This is not an internship but a formal fellowship customized to help fellows realize their career goals. The paid, full-time position lasts a year and its members are part of the Los Angeles Times Guild. We accept applications from those with up to three years of experience in a professional newsroom or up to five years in media settings such as weeklies and community newsrooms, websites, fellowships or freelance work. Applicants must be eligible to work in the U.S.
What to expect
- Formal mentorship
- Frequent performance evaluations and coaching
- A thorough grounding in journalism ethics and relevant laws pertaining to libel and privacy
- An opportunity to cover communities, including law enforcement, courts and city councils
- A thorough understanding of public records and research tools
- An opportunity to prepare stories for the web and build digital media skills
If you are curious, creative and motivated, if you want to document history as it unfolds and have a strong desire to be a part of a newsroom, then apply to the L.A. Times Fellowship.
2021 L.A. Times fellows
How to Apply
Applicants are required to fill out an online form, complete a writing test and receive evaluations from three references. The Times welcomes applications from aspiring reporters, multiplatform copy editors, audience engagement editors, digital producers, designers, visual journalists, podcast producers and data and graphics journalists. You can find the online entry forms at the following links:
Reporting test: Click to access, then download. Further instructions are on the first page.
Evaluation form: Applicants can download the form and send to their references.
The application opens Nov. 1, 2021.
The deadline to apply has been extended to Feb. 1, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. PST. (This is a hard-cutoff)
As a result of the extension, other dates have also been pushed back:
Finalists will be notified in August 2022.
Class selected by September 2022.
Fellows start in November 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to apply for the fellowship?
The program is aimed at aspiring journalists from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. Applicants must be recent college graduates with up to three years of experience in a professional newsroom or up to five years in media settings such as weeklies and community newsrooms, websites, fellowships or freelance work. There is no age limit.
How long is the program?
Fellows are trained by and work alongside Times journalists for one year.
When will The Times open applications for the fellowship?
The application opens Nov. 1. The full application, including completed evaluation forms, is due by Feb. 1, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. PT. This is a hard cut-off.
How do I ensure my evaluation forms are submitted on time?
Applicants can obtain the evaluation form in two ways: (1) They can wait for The Times to email it after the applicant submits their application. It might be best to submit your application by Jan. 15, 2022, or earlier to give your references at least two weeks to complete the form. Or (2) applicants can download the form and send it to their references. If you chose this method, ask your references to fill out the form and hold onto it until you submit your application. They can upload it to the link provided in The Times’ email that will arrive only after you turn in your application. The evaluations must be in by Feb 1, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. PT. This is a hard cut-off. Do not email evaluation forms directly to the Los Angeles Times.
Are fellows paid and eligible for benefits?
Fellows are represented by the Los Angeles Times Guild and receive an annual salary of about $55,000 with incremental raises. They also qualify for benefits, including vacation, sick pay, health insurance and a 401(k) plan.
Does The Times provide housing for the fellows?
No. Fellows are responsible for their own housing.
How many are selected each year?
The Times typically selects six to 10 trainees each year.
Who chooses the fellows?
Top editors, former Metpros, reporters and staffers in specialized departments work together to select the class.
Do the fellows have a chance to get hired into staff positions?
The Los Angeles Times fellowship is a training program and there is no guarantee of a job upon graduation. But in the past, we have offered jobs to some.
How is the program structured?
The program will begin with a six-week “classroom” portion in which fellows learn about Los Angeles and develop storytelling skills. They will participate in drills and hear from a variety of guest speakers, from inside and outside the paper. Topics will include but not be limited to: legal issues, covering cops and courts, Times standards and practices, public records, writing, generating story ideas and navigating the newsroom. During the rest of the year, most fellows will rotate to different departments or news desks. (It’s common for video, photo, audio, copy editing and data and graphics fellows to remain in their same department the entire program.) For most reporting fellows, there will be three rotations of about eight weeks each and a fourth rotation that’s 22 weeks long.
What kind of experience should fellows expect?
Fellows will receive assignments but also are expected to pitch ideas. Reporting fellows will rotate to different news desks, working with their editors to come up with story ideas and map out plans to execute them. They will receive regular feedback. Those with our Data and Graphics department will work on projects with that team and other newsroom staffers. Photo and video fellows will have assignments in the field on their own and alongside our visual journalists. The multiplatform editing fellows will likely work on both our news and features copy desks. Our design fellows also will likely get experience in news and features. Our digital/engagement trainee works with either our News Desk team, which manages the home page, or with our audience engagement team.
When will finalists be notified?
When will the program start?
What offices do the fellows work in?
The fellows work out of our office in El Segundo. A few may work at our bureaus in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento.
How will the pandemic affect the fellowship?
The staff of the Los Angeles Times is currently working remotely. For the coming fellowship, we will require fellows to move to Los Angeles but we will continue to follow federal and local health guidelines regarding working in the office. A moving stipend will be provided to fellows who are moving from more than 50 miles away.
It will be determined at a later date whether fellows placed in bureaus will participate in the six weeks of classroom training virtually or if they will be required to do so in Los Angeles.
How do I make my application stand out?
There is no one thing that makes an application stand out. In general, The Times looks at experience, skill set and work samples when selecting a class. The more successful reporting applicants had clips that showed their range in breaking news, features, enterprise, game stories, explanatory reporting, narrative, etc. Experience is valued. If you have a particular interest or niche such as sports or entertainment, please make that clear in your cover letter.
For visual journalism and design fellows, The Times is also looking for variety in your portfolio. We don’t expect our data and graphics fellows to walk in the door with knowledge of every programming language, but strong applicants will demonstrate having used computers to be creative and meet deadline. And our digital/engagement fellows should have an understanding of metrics, various social media and other platforms, online publishing and an eagerness to learn more.
Do all applicants need to complete the reporting test?
We ask that every candidate complete the same application. Those who are applying for positions that do not require writing won’t be held to as high a standard as the reporting applicants.
May applicants include work samples with multiple bylines?
Yes, but applicants should include a note explaining what their role was in the story or project.
Do fellows need a car?
Applicants must have a valid driver’s license and those applying to the L.A. fellowship will need access to a car in good working condition. This is not required for the Washington, D.C., fellowship.
Can I apply to both the L.A. and Washington, D.C., fellowships?
Yes, reporting fellows with interest working in L.A. and/or covering politics in D.C. can apply to both fellowships.
Do you have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?
These are paid fellowships, so applicants must be eligible to work in the United States. Many can secure an OPT visa upon graduation. It is up to the selected fellow to supply this documentation.