“The NRI journalism programs have a proven record of training top-notch young conservative journalists, who are the farm team of the next generation of writers for NR and other conservative outlets. This is an indispensable contribution to the cause.” – Rich Lowry
The William F. Buckley Jr. Fellowship in Political Journalism pulls budding young journalists from across the United States and puts them on the front line, standing athwart history yelling stop. Every day in the life of a Buckley journalism fellow is different. You might be getting detailed feedback from Rich Lowry one day and participating in a conference with senior government officials the next. It is both thrilling and challenging to learn in such an environment and especially from esteemed senior National Review writers and editors.
The fellowship has a record for cultivating some of the best journalistic talent in the United States, as evidenced from our distinguished alumni. Alexandra DeSanctis, who was a WFB journalism fellow from 2016 to 2018, is now a staff writer with National Review and a popular podcast hostess. Another former fellow, Theodore Kupfer, is the current Thomas L. Rhodes journalism fellow at NR and recently wrote a cover story on Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo. Others have gone on to become reporters at top publications, such as Ryan Lovelace, who is a Supreme Court reporter for the Washington Examiner. We consider it to be the greatest entry-level job in conservative media. From the outset, we were trusted with extraordinary amounts of independence, freedom, and range to hone our writing skills.
We strive every day to uphold these high standards.
What follows are our stories, but first, please know that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for aspiring young journalists is made available through the National Review Institute, the non-profit 501(c)(3) journalistic think tank that supports the NR mission, and thanks to the generosity of NRI’s supporters around the country. NRI seeks to raise over $200,000 between now and the end of the year to support worthy programs such as the WFB journalism fellowship. We hope you will consider making a tax-deductible contribution toward the institute’s End-of-Year Fund Appeal to support the NR mission and valuable programs such as this — programs critical to the future of conservative journalism. Thank you for your support!
The history of National Review, the mission of its founder, and the reputations of my senior colleagues make it a palpably exciting place to work. In the conference room at National Review’s headquarters are some notable memorabilia from the magazine’s early days. As well as Buckley’s handwritten Rolodex card with Ronald Reagan’s phone number, there are cover stories from some of my literary heroes such as Evelyn Waugh and Joan Didion. It is truly humbling to play a small part in the continuation of this outstanding publication’s legacy.
With the invaluable support of our editor in chief, Rich Lowry, I have contributed two cover stories to National Review, which can be found here and here. Both were investigative essays that involved old-fashioned, boot-scuffing journalism. First, I traveled to Los Angeles and went on two ride-alongs with the Los Angeles Police Department. On Figueroa Street, one of the most notorious prostitution tracks in the United States, I was able to talk to about a dozen prostituted young women. Second, and more recently, I drew together extensive documentation on a social and medical scandal happening in plain sight — the medicalization of children thought to be “transgender.” The impetus for this piece came from a badly misreported custody dispute in Texas involving a seven-year-old boy whose mother believed him to be a transgender girl and whose father disagreed, which had attracted both national and international media attention. In my report, I revealed crucial information that had thus far been overlooked by journalists.
It has long been my view that conservative journalists ought not to leave all serious reporting to their liberal counterparts. Inspired by the on-the-ground work of my friends and colleagues Kevin D. Williamson, Jay Nordlinger, and John McCormack, I have taken myself out of my comfort zone. Not to mention out of New York! So far, my reporting has taken me to California, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, and all over the northeast coast. This has only been possible through the support of National Review Institute, to which I am extremely grateful.
Indeed, only a few months into the fellowship, in October 2018, NRI helped me to travel to London and then D.C. in order to write a profile on Boris Johnson, who was then a dark horse in British politics. From there, benefiting greatly from the mentorship and friendship of NRI fellow John O’Sullivan, I have been contributing steady Brexit analysis for NationalReview.com. Earlier this year, I appeared on Fox Nation’s expert panel, on a “deep dive” session hosted by David Cameron’s former adviser Steve Hilton, to discuss Johnson’s government.
Since starting in June, I have been an active contributor to both the online and print editions of National Review. I’ve found the pace and rigor of NR both stimulating and challenging. It forces young writers to be disciplined, meet their deadlines, and make investments in themselves and their personal development. Time not spent at work is often spent reading, preparing a forthcoming article, or listening to speakers and debates, each improving the fellow’s writing and thinking.
My work at NR has focused on cultural issues, particularly as they “intersect” — forgive the word and its intersectional connotations — with religious questions. For instance, I wrote an article defending the charitable arm of the Salvation Army against the band of malcontents who raise an annual stink about the charity’s supposed “homophobia.” I analyzed and lamented the Amazon synod at the Vatican, where “Pachamama” idols were thrown into the Tiber River by a modern-day Boniface. After CNN’s anti–religious-liberty cavalcade — predictably misnamed the “Equality Town Hall,” which featured many of the leading Democratic presidential candidates, I wrote a response for NR that took the loathsome Texan with the faux-Hispanic moniker to task for his plan to revoke the tax-exempt status of churches with unremarkable beliefs about human sexuality. Editors have allowed me to probe issues of personal import to me, such as mental illness and disability policy, two more-obscure but no less important areas of public policy.
As a Buckley journalism fellow, I’ve been fortunate enough to make appearances on both television and radio programs, to write an article for the print magazine, and to wade (more than once!) into the fray of our fractious national political debate. I’m deeply indebted to our editors, the senior writers, and the NRI donors who make this experience possible.
It is our sincere hope that those who have invested in us via the WFB Fellowship in Political Journalism can see the value of their generosity. The purpose is to nurture young journalists not only for their own sake but also for the sake of a culture and Constitution that will always need defending from those who are eager to tear it down. Ronald Reagan said that “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Your generosity helps us to fight for that freedom.
This fellowship has provided us with tremendous opportunities for both personal and professional growth, and we hope that supporters of NRI know that their contributions directly advance the conservative cause. We are enormously grateful for the generosity of so many and humbly ask you, if you haven’t done so already, to consider supporting the work that we do. You can do so by making a tax-deductible contribution in support of NRI’s End-of-Year Fund Appeal.