Journalism Intern, Democracy Program (MF)

About the Democracy Program

Our mission is to strengthen democracy in Illinois through informed and engaged citizens and communities, and responsive systems of government. The goals of the Democracy Program are that 1) youth are informed, actively participate in their communities, and have healthy civic dispositions; 2) local journalism is vigorous, independent, and effective at connecting and informing all levels of the democratic system; and 3) public institutions are inclusive, transparent, and accountable to the communities they serve.

Our strategy embodies a deep commitment to racial equity and serving under-resourced communities in Chicagoland. We seek to improve overall democratic outcomes and close the civic empowerment gap by providing resources, creating opportunities, and advocating for policies to address disparities for people of color.   

Opportunity: Journalism Intern

The intern will focus on the Democracy Program’s work to support local journalism. The Program currently works with a diverse cohort of partners, including local news outlets and organizations that provide local journalists training and professional development. As the Foundation considers how to enhance its support for media in the Chicago region, the intern will be expected to lead research and analysis to inform the Program’s development. This internship will offer the opportunity to evaluate prospective grant-funded projects, as well as investigate emerging and existing challenges and opportunities in local reporting to inform the Program’s future work. Interns will come away with a deeper understanding of Chicago’s dynamic media landscape, how it is changing, and how to design and evaluate interventions to improve local reporting. This is a full-time position from June through August 2019 (approx. 40 hours/week) that reports to the Program Officer. Compensation is $14 per hour.


  • Grantmaking: Program staff are continually evaluating investment opportunities to understand their potential impact and assess their strategic fit with the Democracy Program’s priorities. Throughout the summer, applicant organizations will be submitting Letters of Inquiry, the first stage in McCormick’s two-stage application process. The intern will be part of a team investigating project proposals and recommending applications for further consideration.
  • Research: As the Program considers how best to sustain a vibrant and effective network of local news outlets, we need to better understand existing challenges and opportunities to address them. The intern will partner with Program staff to identify, research, and provide insight on questions related to reporting in Chicago, e.g. diversity in the newsroom, press freedom, and journalist professional development.
  • Network-building: In addition to grantmaking, the Foundation engages and convenes its partners to better understand and leverage lessons learned for the benefit of a broader journalism community. The internship might include the opportunity to help design and organize programs that could range from small-scale outreach to larger events.


  • Currently enrolled in an accredited undergraduate or graduate degree program
  • Demonstrated interest in media, communications, and journalism preferred, either as an academic major, through involvement in student publications, or by other avenues
  • Demonstrated passion for the Foundation’s values with commitment to deliver results measured against the Foundation’s mission
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and experience building relationships with multiple stakeholders by listening to new ideas, encouraging dialogue, and inspiring people to work towards common goals
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills, particularly in communication with diverse constituencies in a variety of settings
  • Basic computer skills, including use of Microsoft Office Suite
  • All offers are contingent upon successful completion of a criminal background check and drug screening

To Apply

Submit the following application materials here.

  • Resume: 1-2 pages max.
  • Writing Sample: 1–2 pages max. (can be an excerpt from a longer piece) that highlights the applicant’s research experience, analytical abilities, and/or persuasive style. The sample might be an article, short essay, memo, policy brief, or other document that shows strong critical thinking and communication skills.
  • Cover Letter: In addition to highlighting your skills and what you hope to gain from the internship, please answer the following question: describe your news information diet – what type of news do you seek, where do you seek it, and what role does this information play in your life?

Cantigny Park and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation provide equal employment opportunity (EEO) to all persons regardless of age, color, national origin, citizenship status, individuals with disabilities, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital and housing status.

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