Scholarships & Fellowships

scholarship and fellowship recipients

Since 1970, the RTDNA Foundation has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships and fellowships to more than 500 young journalists as part of its mission as the educational arm of RTDNA.

Recipients have gone on to enjoy careers from reporter, anchor, and news director to White House speechwriter, media regulatory attorney, and journalism educator. Several have served as RTDNA board members and many are Murrow Award winners.

Scholarships are open to college students pursuing careers in radio, television, or digital journalism. Fellowships are open to professional broadcast or digital journalists with fewer than 10 years of experience. Winners must be officially enrolled, full-time sophomores, juniors or seniors in good standing. Scholarship and fellowship winners are also asked to attend the RTDNA conference free of charge and with travel support.

Applications Open for 2023 Soon!


Deadlines & Important Dates

  • March: Applications Open
  • April: Application Deadline
  • Early Summer: Recipients Notified
  • September: Recipients Attend RTDNA's Annual Conference

 

How to Apply

  • Complete the online application form, including:
    • Contact information
    • Experience
    • URL links to 3-5 work samples
      • Links should be broadcast (television/radio) or online news pieces
      • And, should be uploaded to a host site like YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, etc.
  • Upload supplemental materials
    • Cover letter
      • Discuss current and past journalism experience
      • Describe how you intend to use the funds
      • Discuss your choice to pursue a career in journalism
    • Resume
    • Letter of recommendation
      • From a professor, advisor or supervisor

Bob Horner Scholarship

Bob Horner headshotRobert "Bob" Horner spent more than 45 years in journalism, starting in 1970. He is a native of the Washington D.C. area. He received degrees from the University of Missouri and American University before working at local stations for six years. He was a bureau manager and executive for CBS News before moving on to NBC News. In 1991 he founded the NBC News Channel, which provides news coverage to affiliates, foreign networks, and the programs and platforms of NBC News. He was President of that service until he retired in 2017. He received the RTDNF First Amendment Service Award in 2020.

Horner established the Bob Horner Scholarship in 2020 to fund undergraduate scholarships for journalism or communication students, with priority given to those students who intend to pursue a career in broadcast journalism or in some form of journalism that emphasizes the use of video, including documentaries and digital platforms, with the intention to benefit the general public.

The recipient of the Bob Horner Scholarship will receive $2,500 and an invitation to the RTDNA Conference.

Who Can Apply

  • Undergraduate journalism or communication students, with priority given to those students who intend to pursue a career in broadcast journalism or in some form of journalist that emphases the use of video, including documentaries and digital platforms, with the intention to benefit the general public
  • Winners must be officially enrolled undergraduate students in good standing when scholarships are awarded in September

 

Carole Simpson Scholarship

carole simpson at news deskCarole Simpson is a former RTDNF trustee and the 1996 recipient of the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award in recognition of her work to protect First Amendment Freedoms. She established the Carole Simpson Scholarship in 1991 to encourage and help minority students to overcome hurdles along their career path in electronic journalism. In a career of notable firsts, Carole Simpson has led the way for minorities and women in broadcasting. After beginning her career as a journalism educator, she went on to break barriers and raise social issues as a journalist. Simpson was the first woman to broadcast news in Chicago, the first African American woman to anchor a network TV evening newscast, and the first woman and first minority to solo moderate a presidential debate. She retired from ABC News in 2006 to become Distinguished Journalist in the School of Communications at Emerson College in Boston. Her memoir, NewsLady, was published in 2010.

The recipient of the Carole Simpson Scholarship will receive $2,000 and an invitation to the RTDNA conference.

Who Can Apply

  • Students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors at the time the scholarship is awarded, pursuing careers in radio, television, or digital journalism
  • Winners must be officially enrolled, full-time sophomores or above in good standing when scholarships are awarded in September

 

David Louie Scholarship

david louie headshotDavid Louie was the recipient of RTDNF’s very first scholarship in 1970 while a student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Upon graduation, he joined ABC Owned KGO-TV San Francisco. He created this scholarship in 2022 to mark his 50th anniversary at ABC. The scholarship is restricted to full-time Northwestern/Medill students with a preference for applicants of Asian American descent.

Louie was a long-time RTDNA board member and RTDNF trustee as well as a past national president of the Asian American Journalists Association and national chairman of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

The recipient of the $2,000 David Louie Scholarship will also receive an invitation to attend the RTDNA conference. 

Who Can Apply

  • Must be attending Northwestern University
  • Preference given to students of Asian American descent
  • Students who will be sophomores, juniors, seniors or graduate students at the time the scholarship is awarded, pursuing careers in radio, television, or digital journalism
  • Recipients must be officially enrolled, full-time sophomores or above in good standing when scholarships are awarded in September

 

Ed Bradley Scholarship

ed bradley headshotEd Bradley is best known for his award-winning work in 26 years on CBS News’ 60 Minutes and as the first African American White House TV correspondent. Bradley received the Paul White Award from RTDNA in 2000 recognizing his lifetime commitment to excellence in journalism and the First Amendment Award from RTDNF in 2005 in recognition of his support of First Amendment rights. He passed away in 2006.

Bradley established the Ed Bradley Scholarship in 1994. Since then, 20 young, aspiring journalists of color have received the award created by the late CBS News and 60 Minutes correspondent. Past winners have gone on to work for organizations including NPR, CNN, and Al-Jazeera America. They have enjoyed careers from reporter, anchor, and media attorney to Saturday Night Live comedy writer and White House speechwriter.

The recipient of the Ed Bradley Scholarship will receive $10,000 and an invitation to the RTDNA conference.

Who Can Apply

  • Students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors at the time the scholarship is awarded, pursuing careers in radio, television, or digital journalism
  • Winners must be officially enrolled, full-time sophomores or above in good standing when scholarships are awarded in September

 

George Foreman Tribute to Lyndon B. Johnson Scholarship

george foremanGeorge Foreman is a boxing champion, Olympic gold medal winner and celebrated pitchman. As a young man, he was inspired by President Lyndon Johnson and by RTDNF founder Barney Oldfield. In his autobiography By George, Foreman credits LBJ's Job Corps for rescuing him "from the gutter." While attending the Job Cops program, he met Barney Oldfield, who was one of the program’s sponsors and became Foreman’s mentor. Foreman thanks Oldfield "for a lifetime of friendship, devotion, counsel, and wisdom. The world would be a far better place if everyone were lucky enough to have a friend like you."

The recipient of the George Foreman Tribute to Lyndon B. Johnson Scholarship will receive $6,000 and an invitation to the RTDNA conference.

Who Can Apply

  • Must be attending the University of Texas at Austin
  • Students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors at the time the scholarship is awarded, pursuing careers in radio, television, or digital journalism
  • Winners must be officially enrolled, full-time sophomores or above in good standing when scholarships are awarded in September

 

Lee Thornton Scholarship

lee thornton headshotLee Thornton was the first African-American woman to cover the White House for a major news network (CBS) and the first African-American host of All Things Considered on National Public Radio. She served as a faculty member at the Howard University School of Communications, earning a tenured position. Later in her career, she taught at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism and served a term as the school's interim dean. She held a master’s degree from Michigan State University and a doctorate in mass communications from Northwestern University. Ms. Thornton passed away in 2013 at age 71, and endowed in her estate this scholarship in her name.

Students from the University of Maryland and Howard University will be given preference.

The recipient of the Lee Thornton Scholarship will receive $2,000 and an invitation to the RTDNA conference.

Who Can Apply

  • Students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors at the time the scholarship is awarded, pursuing careers in radio, television, or digital journalism
  • Winners must be officially enrolled, full-time undergraduate students good standing when scholarships are awarded in September

 

Lou & Carole Prato Scholarship

lou prato headshotLouis F. Prato has dedicated more than 30 years to RTDNA and RTDNF. Lou served as secretary of the RTDNF Board of Trustees, and for more than 20 years he was treasurer of the RTDNA Board of Directors. Lou has worked as a sports broadcaster, news director, a journalism professor. Lou and his wife Carole live near his alma mater, Penn State University. He is the author of several books on Penn State football, including The Penn State Football Encyclopedia, and was Director of the Penn State All Sports Museum.

The scholarship was established in 2001 in recognition of Lou’s service to RTDNA and RTDNF and his commitment to excellence in journalism. It is awarded to a journalism student who brings Lou's journalism values to covering sports.

The recipient of the Lou and Carole Prato Sports Reporting Scholarship will receive $1,000 and an invitation to the RTDNA conference.

Who Can Apply

  • Students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors at the time the scholarship is awarded, pursuing careers in radio, television, or digital journalism
  • Winners must be officially enrolled, full-time sophomores or above in good standing when scholarships are awarded in September

 

Mike Reynolds Scholarship

Mike Reynolds, who died in 1988 of a brain tumor at age 45, was assignment editor and then managing editor at KCCI-TV in Des Moines, IA. This scholarship is awarded to a journalism student with a good writing ability, excellent grades, a dedication to the news business, strong interest in pursuing a career in electronic journalism and a demonstrated need for financial assistance.

The recipient of the Mike Reynolds Scholarship will receive $1,000 and an invitation to the RTDNA conference.

Who Can Apply

  • Students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors at the time the scholarship is awarded, pursuing careers in radio, television, or digital journalism
  • Winners must be officially enrolled, full-time sophomores or above in good standing when scholarships are awarded in September

 

Pete Wilson Scholarship

pete wilson headshotThe Pete Wilson Journalism Scholarship was established in 2007 to honor the late Pete Wilson, a San Francisco television and radio journalist. The scholarship is granted to a graduate journalism student from the San Francisco Bay area or attending a college or university in the Bay Area who shares Wilson's commitment to ethical, responsible journalism. The Pete Wilson Scholarship is open to both undergraduates and graduate applicants.

The recipient of the Pete Wilson Journalism Scholarship will receive $2,000 and an invitation to the RTDNA conference.

Who Can Apply

  • Must be from or studying in the San Francisco Bay area
  • Winners must be officially enrolled, full-time undergraduate or graduate students good standing when scholarships are awarded in September

 

Presidents Scholarship

Two awards are given each year in honor of former RTDNA Presidents Theodore Koop, Bruce Dennis, James McCulla, John Salisbury, Bruce Palmer, Dick Cheverton, Jim Byron, Ben Chatfield and John Hogan.

The recipients of the Presidents Scholarship will each receive $2,500 and an invitation to the RTDNA conference.

Who Can Apply

  • Students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors at the time the scholarship is awarded, pursuing careers in radio, television, or digital journalism
  • Winners must be officially enrolled, full-time sophomores or above in good standing when scholarships are awarded in September

 

Michele Clark Fellowship

michele clarkRTDNF's first fellowship is named for Michele Clark, the CBS News correspondent who was killed in a plane crash while on assignment in 1972. This fellowship is awarded to a young, promising minority professional in television, radio or digital news.

In addition to the $1,000 award, winners of the Michele Clark Fellowships are invited to attend the RTDNA conference.

 

 

N.S. Bienstock Fellowship

An award established in 1999 by Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper, the original owners of N.S. Bienstock. Acquired by United Talent Agency in 2014, the firm now known as Bienstock, a UTA Company has been a leading talent agency in news and reality-based programming for more than 50 years and is a long-time member of RTDNA. This award recognizes a promising minority journalist in radio, television or digital news.

In addition to the $2,500 award, winners are invited to attend the RTDNA conference.

 

Vada & Col. Barney Oldfield National Security Reporting Fellowship

barney oldfieldEstablished by the RTDNF Board of Trustees in honor of Vada and Col. Barney Oldfield. Barney and Vada served in WWII and both had illustrious military careers. Barney's long and impressive career included a stint as a Hollywood studio publicist, WWII Army and post-war Air Force public relations officer, author, and lecturer. Col. Oldfield was also a businessman and philanthropist who founded over 40 private foundations including RTDNF. This fellowship is awarded to a reporter or producer in radio, television or digital news engaged covering national defense and security

In addition to the $1,000 award, winners are invited to attend the RTDNA conference.