Students attend AIJI for free and receive other financial assistance. Applications are welcome from any Native American college student preparing to become a journalist. In its first seven years, 156 students completed the program. Instructions and application forms are available at www.freedomforum.org/diversity.
AIJI students will be eligible for college credit by taking one of several journalism courses taught at the Freedom Forum's Al Neuharth Media Center, on the University of South Dakota's Vermillion campus. Once accepted, AIJI students will be placed in an appropriate course based on their experience, interests and previous coursework.
Top AIJI graduates will be hired for six-week paid internships as reporters, copy editors, photographers and multimedia journalists at daily newspapers and with The Associated Press beginning about July 1. Last summer, 16 AIJI graduates worked in paid news internships.
"The intent of AIJI is to recruit, train, mentor and retain Native Americans for journalism careers," said Jack Marsh, AIJI director and Freedom forum vice president for diversity programs. "AIJI is an intense and demanding academic program that opens doors for those who have the passion and the potential to succeed as professional journalists."
The Freedom Forum administers and funds AIJI, including tuition, fees, books, room and board. To be eligible for AIJI, Native students must have completed at least one year of college. Applications for the program will be accepted from new participants and from returning AIJI students who want more training.
Program graduates will earn four hours of college credit from the University of South Dakota that students may transfer to their current school. In addition, graduates will receive a $500 stipend/scholarship from the Freedom Forum, paid when they resume full-time studies in the fall.
Select AIJI graduates will be hired to work at www.reznetnews.org, the Native American online news site, during the school year.