The Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference is now accepting applications for summer 2015! The all-expenses-paid, five-day conference in Washington, D.C., is open to high school juniors with a passion for journalism who embody the qualities of a “free spirit.”
Application deadline is Feb. 1, 2015.
Fifty-one students, representing each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., will be selected to travel to the nation’s capital June 20-25 for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and be inspired by journalists from top papers, networks and websites, as well as leaders from all three branches of government and the Newseum. Past conferences have included sessions with congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis (D-Ga.); PBS “NewsHour” co-anchors Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill; and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sara Ganim, now a CNN correspondent, who broke the story of Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse grand jury investigation. Past Free Spirit scholars including an editorial producer for CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” the local innovations editor at The Washington Post, and the senior editor for social media at ABC News join the conference each year to share their experiences. Scholars have also attended a taping of “Meet the Press” at NBC’s Washington studios and visited the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Capitol and the USA Today newsroom, among many other unique experiences.
Conference attendees become part of a tight-knit alumni community and make strong connections with their fellow Free Spirits. Jake Smith, a 2014 scholar from Michigan, reflected on last year’s conference: “I was surrounded by 50 other intelligent, outgoing, and interesting kids who were all my age and had scarily similar interests despite our varying origins. We all became very good friends, very fast and I don’t think we could ever get enough of each other. The imprint that the other Free Spirits left on me and the connections I made were just, if not more, powerful that the conference itself.”
|Watch Testimonials from Previous Scholars|
The program began in 1999 and is funded by the Newseum Institute to honor Al Neuharth, the founder of USA Today, Newseum and the Freedom Forum. The conference emphasizes the First Amendment freedoms as a way to inspire and encourage students to dream, dare and do. Many past scholars have gone on to distinguished careers in journalism, law, politics and other fields.