Five years ago, we launched a program through which we place students from the College Heights Herald and the Talisman into news organizations during the summers to work alongside professionals.
Back in the day, we called this an internship — and we still call it that. But paid internships are harder to come by these days, so we created a series of partnerships through which some of our top students spend the summer in 10- to 12-week internships that work well for the news organizations, but also are tailored to help each student develop specific strengths.
We call these internships “fellowships” and, through the generosity of our alumni, WKU Student Publications co-sponsors these experiences with our partnering newsrooms. This summer, we have five students in fellowships — three at the Lexington Herald-Leader and one each at The Courier-Journal and the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer.
So far, it has been a terrific success, entirely funded with donations from our alumni, friends and partners. To date, 20 staffers from the Herald and the Talisman have participated in these fellowships. Each is either working or continuing as a student, and five — Cameron Love, Taylor Harrison, Kae Holloway, Lashana Harney and Andrew Henderson — have gone on to be editors-in-chief here at WKU Student Publications, all aided by the experiences from their fellowships.
That’s a proud record, and a program we want to continue and hope to expand. These fellowships help the students grow, and they help the Herald and the Talisman.
Each of these fellowships pays the student at least $3,000 — partly from your donations primarily to the Student Publications Fellowship Fund, partly from donations from the partnering news organization. In most cases, because the fellowship qualifies as an integral educational experience, the money flows to the student in the form of a scholarship remainder, meaning they benefit from the full amount of the stipend.
This is the time of year when we are planning our fellowships for Summer 2018. But we have a dilemma.
Currently, our Student Publications Fellowship Fund has just $612 in it. Just one donation has come in so far this calendar year. And donations are, quite literally, the lifeblood of this program.
I understand the reluctance of our alumni to make donations right now because of the ongoing lawsuit WKU filed against the Herald to keep records of sexual misconduct on campus closed from public scrutiny. I’ve heard from many of you who say that the university’s decision to sue means you don’t want to give until this situation is over.
I understand that.
But I am asking you, in this instance, to reconsider.
Our fellowship program has proved enormously beneficial — most important, to the students, but also to the Herald and the Talisman.
To continue our fellowships at the 2017 level, we need to raise about $7,000 from our alumni and friends.
We would like to add two new fellowships in 2018 — one for our students who want to pursue careers in marketing or communications, and one for investigative reporting — but that requires us to raise another $3,000.
So, we’d like to raise $10,000 to fund the Student Pubs share of the fellowships we hope to offer for Summer 2018.
We are an army of alumni and friends of the Talisman and the Herald. And the cumulative effect of our donations, large and small, does wonderful things. Just look at the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center your donations built a decade ago.
So please, consider helping our fellowship program continue, and thrive. To donate online, go to wku.edu/makeagift and type “Student Publications Fellowship Fund” into the search box toward the bottom of the page. Or mail a check made out to “Student Publication Fellowship Fund” to me at:
Chuck Clark, director
WKU Student Publications
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11084
Bowling Green, KY 42101.
Time is of the essence, since we are setting up our partnerships for 2018 now. Please support this valuable and successful program at whatever level you can.
And, remember, every penny you give to the Student Publications Fellowship Fund winds up going into a student’s pocket.