The Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism honors the life and career of Charles Snowden, a longtime editor at the Oregon Journal and The Oregonian. Charlie Snowden, who retired in 1986 and passed away in 1997, had a great passion for good writing, history, and the practice of ethical journalism. He is remembered not only as a top-notch editor but also as a mentor for many young journalists. In his memory, the Snowden family established an endowment for the program at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. The endowment has funded more than 200 internships for students since 1998.
The University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication works closely with students and editors to ensure an outstanding learning experience. Students selected for the program attend a daylong pre-internship seminar in the spring, and the Snowden internship coordinator visits with interns on-site during the summer. All interns receive a handbook containing advice from Snowden editors and former Snowden interns.
The experience pays off. Snowden interns have landed jobs at top media outlets throughout the country (and the world), including The Associated Press, The Oregonian (Portland), Chicago magazine, Statesman Journal (Salem), the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Times, The Register-Guard (Eugene), the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, the San Jose Mercury News, The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Virginia), and The Prague Post (Czech Republic).
Snowden media partnerships often hire their interns as full-time reporters, photographers, and editors.
Snowden interns are selected for their potential for successful media careers based on their journalistic experience, commitment to ethics, passion for journalism, and academic performance. The program is open to student journalists at all Oregon colleges and universities.
Student journalists at Oregon colleges and universities who have completed a basic reporting course or who have journalism experience on campus publications can apply. The application must include:
- A 500-word essay that describes your journalism experience to date, and illustrates with anecdotes and examples some of the important lessons you’ve learned about reporting, news and feature photography, video and editing. Include your reasons for pursuing a career in journalism, and your career goals.
- Your current resume.
- Up to 10 samples of your work – news and features you’ve written, headlines you’ve composed, pages you’ve designed, and/or news and feature photos and video you’ve shot. You may cite links to photos or audio/video stories you’ve produced.
- Transcripts from all colleges or universities you’ve attended.
- Two recommendations from professors, editors or internship supervisors who know your journalism work. Ask them to complete the online recommendation form.
Deadline: Applications to the 2015 Snowden Internship Program are no longer being accepted.
Since 1998, the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism has created unique internship opportunities for Oregon students, integrating on-the-job experience with training in journalism ethics.
In paid, ten-week placements, students work side-by-side with professionals, practicing the essential skills required to provide news and information to their communities. Reporter and photographer interns cover police, city hall, and schools, and develop feature packages on local personalities, regional heritage, entertainment, and the arts. Editing interns staff copy desks—checking facts, writing headlines and cutlines, and designing pages and spreads. Multimedia interns record and edit video and audio clips and assist with production of larger projects.
In administering the Snowden program, faculty and staff members from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication work closely with media outlets recognized for excellence in covering their communities and known for their dedication to mentoring new journalists. Each participating media outlet pays half the intern’s stipend. The endowment covers all remaining costs.
Examples of Snowden Media Partners:
- The Daily Astorian
- News-Register, McMinnville
- Baker City Herald, La Grande Observer
- The Bulletin, Bend
- The Register-Guard, Eugene
- East Oregonian, Pendleton
- The Outlook, Gresham
- Herald and News, Klamath Falls
- Portland Tribune, News-Times, Forest Grove
- Oregon Public Broadcast (OPB), Portland
- Mail Tribune, Medford
- Capital Press, Salem
- Ruralite Magazine, Forest Grove
Since 2005, Snowden interns have benefited from a pioneering journalism ethics training program that David Risser of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) Education for Journalism Committee says “may be worth considering for replication across the country.” Prior to their summer jobs, interns learn several ethics decision-making models based on a workbook created by UO professor Tom Bivins, the John L. Hulteng Chair in Media Ethics and Responsibility at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Then, while working for their community newspapers, they discuss weekly case studies with newsroom staff members and editors, and arrive at a course of action.
The Ethics Initiative of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism represents the formal recognition of an emphasis on journalistic ethics that has grounded the program from its inception.
Since 1997, when the Snowden Program funded its first summer internships at small and mid-sized Oregon newspapers, students have been increasingly engaged in discussions centered on ethical decision making. Today a formal ethics training component has been fully integrated into the program for use not only by those participating as Snowden interns, but also by journalism students around the country.
This teaching module contains a database of journalism ethics case studies, introductory materials on the importance of the media in society, and the basics of professional ethics. In addition, a process is presented to facilitate discussion and action regarding the case studies. The aim to ultimately provide a tool and a process by which future ethical decisions can be made.