Chips Quinn Program for Diversity in Journalism

Chips Quinn Program Announces 2024 Early Career Reporters

Journalism Funding Partners has selected 11 early-career journalists to provide a one-year mentorship from leaders in the newsroom and Chips Quinn alumni. The Chips Quinn Program continues its commitment to enhancing diversity and providing career growth for aspiring journalists from underrepresented communities.


The Chips Quinn Program for Diversity in Journalism, an initiative founded by Freedom Forum and administered by Journalism Funding Partners, provides mentorship and training for early career journalists.

Within a fast-paced and rapidly changing industry, we’ve heard from veteran newsroom leaders and new employees alike that more access to mentorship is essential to retaining diverse talent. That’s because experienced mentors can provide advice and camaraderie, along with being a sounding board for new ideas or even an inspiration to emulate. Perhaps most important, a mentor can become a trusted confidant who encourages you to advocate for what you need to thrive professionally.

“Mentoring means I can pass on the knowledge I've acquired from my career to the up-and-coming storytellers in hopes that they'll be even better journalists than I could have imagined,” said Khristopher J. Brooks, a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch and 2006 Chips Quinn alum.

From 1991-2019, the program was focused on placing diverse journalists into newspaper internships and evolved to address a critical need in journalism. Since 2020, the Chips Quinn Scholars program has been enlisting mentors from its pool of more than 1,400 alumni and pairing them with interns working in various Gannett newsrooms across the country.

In 2024, Freedom Forum partnered with Journalism Funding Partners to grow the program under JFP’s administration with funding from Freedom Forum.

“Young journalists of color often lack the networks and support some of their peers may have thanks to privileges,” explained Denver Post reporter Elizabeth Hernandez, a 2014 Chips Quinn alum. “It's important they have mentors.”

The Chips Quinn Program for Diversity in Journalism launched in 1991 with the mission to diversify the industry’s workforce pipeline. The new program will continue to honor the late John C. “Chips” Quinn Jr., a newspaper editor who believed in the importance of diversity in newsrooms to better reflect the communities they serve.


Nolan D. McCaskill

“Shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced she would step down from leadership after two decades atop the Democratic Caucus, I found myself in a room with the most powerful woman in American politics, her staff and only seven other reporters for an hour-long interview. My presence there would not have been possible without my transformative summer as a Chips Quinn scholar, which, to my surprise, led to a career in political journalism, taking me to the halls of Congress, the White House and the presidential campaign trail.”

Nolan D. McCaskill, congressional reporter for The Messenger and CQS 2014

Nolan D. McCaskill
Nicole Chavez

“The Chips Quinn mentoring program restored my passion for journalism when I needed it the most. Advising young journalists reminded me of those who believed in me and helped me when the nonstop news cycle became overwhelming or I doubted my skills. It showed me that it’s my time to pay it forward and help elevate the next great generation of storytellers.”

Nicole Chavez, staff writer for CNN’s Race and Equality team and CQS 2013

Nicole Chavez
Stu Woo

“I feel as if I've gained as much as I've given through the mentorship program. After 14 years of doing professional journalism, the job can feel like a grind. But when summer rolls around and I get paired with a Chips Quinn intern, the weekly chats reinvigorate me. These hungry students teach me about new ways to consume and gather news. In turn, I encourage them to treat me like a therapist. I feel that my role is to reassure them, to say that the anxiety is totally normal.”

Stu Woo, reporter for The Wall Street Journal and CQS 2007

Stu Woo
Katie Oyan

“I have to say, I have a pretty great job. It's all about expanding the AP's mission to help its members succeed. A recent example is an interview the AP conducted with the first Native American woman in space, with questions gathered from members and Indigenous news outlets. The experience was a highlight for me and reflected some of the important lessons I learned when I started my career in local journalism as a Chips Quinn Scholar. I'm honored to help carry on the program's legacy.”

Katie Oyan, deputy director for local news success for the Associated Press and CQS 1997 and 2000

Katie Oyan
Eric Bailey

“The opportunity to serve as a mentor has been a perfect opportunity to give back to journalism and the Chips Quinn program, which has been a strong foundation for my 25-plus years as a sportswriter. Having the chance to help mold the next generation of journalists has been invigorating as I enter the ‘fourth quarter’ of my career. Seeing their excitement as they enter this important profession has shown me that we are in good hands looking toward the future.”

Eric Bailey, Tulsa World sportswriter covering the University of Oklahoma and CQS 1996

Eric Bailey
Simone Weichselbaum

I am a longtime investigative police reporter, focusing on what I describe as ‘broken systems within American policing.’ I work on the law enforcement team at NBC News Investigations. We write traditional deep-dive print stories for and shape the companion TV segments for shows such as NBC Nightly News. In addition to local policing projects, I spend a lot of time digging into federal law enforcement issues. I found that federal task forces have higher shooting rates than big city cops.”

Simone Weichselbaum, national investigative reporter for NBC News and CQS 2001  

Simone Weichselbaum




More than 1,400 aspiring journalists have been named Chips Quinn participants since 1991.