Rob Dean Fellowship Program

Searchlight New Mexico, an award-winning investigative news outlet, is looking for informed and enthusiastic editorial interns to report on issues of impact for New Mexico and the greater Southwest. We are dedicated to in-depth public interest journalism that exposes wrongdoing and covers disadvantaged communities across New Mexico and beyond, from cities and suburbs to rural spaces.

The Rob Dean Emerging Reporters Program is a three-month summer internship (June through August) that pays a Santa Fe living wage. It is named for Rob Dean, the executive director of Searchlight until his untimely death in January 2020. A lifelong journalist, Rob led the Santa Fe New Mexican as editor for 21 years and before that served as metro editor for the Tacoma (Washington) News Tribune. In those roles, he mentored dozens of young reporters throughout the American West.

This internship program will provide interns with enterprise reporting experience and mentoring. Searchlight will consider applicants from two categories:
1) Current or recent graduate students of Master’s programs in journalism or related field.
2) Rising seniors or recent college undergraduates interested in pursuing a career in journalism.
The internship is in-person based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Fellows will have the opportunity to support staff reporters and editors on health, criminal justice, tribal affairs and education stories, among other pursuits. Depending on experience, they may also conduct their own reporting. By the end of the internship, fellows will have refined their skills in interviewing, filing open records requests, sourcing, data reporting, story production, engagement reporting —  and, of course, narrative writing.
The Rob Dean Emerging Reporters Program is specifically designed for those who have an interest in and/or a connection to New Mexico and the greater Southwest. Searchlight aims to be a stepping stone for a career in investigative journalism. Applicants must be enrolled in, or must have recently graduated from, programs in journalism, English, or other related fields; students of color and those from diverse backgrounds are especially encouraged to do so. The Emerging Reporters program is only open to those eligible to work in the U.S.

Why an emerging reporters program?

As scores of news organizations in the Southwest and around the country have slashed staff and coverage, nonpartisan investigative journalism has only grown more essential. And within the remaining newsrooms that do pursue investigative longform journalism, people of color, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities are underrepresented.
We believe the best way to do this is to alleviate the longstanding barriers to careers in journalism, such as financial hurdles and limited access to mentors and job opportunities.

How to apply

Please send a cover letter, resume and three clips to with the subject line: Rob Dean Fellowship.
Submit using form instead.

Deadline to apply for Summer 2023 program is April 30, 2023.