Journalism Residency Placement Process

Students go through a rigorous placement process in the quarter before they’re scheduled to do their residencies. They attend a mandatory information session during the second week of the quarter that walks them through the JR program and placement process. They also get advice from a panel of students who completed their residencies the previous quarter.

At the session, students receive a detailed, descriptive list of JR sites available to them the following quarter. To help them in identifying their top choices, students also learn how they can examine reports written by peers who have spent an 11-week academic quarter at these sites.

After doing their research, students submit an application to the JR director. They describe what they hope to gain from their JR experiences. They also identify their top eight site choices and explain why they are well suited for them.

Students meet with the JR director between the fifth and seventh weeks of the quarter in one-on-one appointments to discuss these choices. Students should not become fixated on a particular place because many sites can provide similar opportunities to develop their skills.

The JR director assigns and posts a placement for each student by the eighth week of the quarter. This process takes into account factors such as students’ interests, career goals, grades, training, internships, campus journalism and communications-related experiences, as well as insights from Medill faculty.

While students may not get assigned to their top site choice, they will go to a professional media site that will allow them to develop their skills and grow professionally. They should consider their skill level, experience and the demands of the sites when making their selections. If necessary, they can schedule a meeting with the JR director before turning in their applications to discuss suitable selections.


Students are required to secure their own housing accommodations while on JR, but the JR team provides guidance and information for finding housing. Sources of information include site supervisors, students who have been to the same JR site, local university housing postings and student housing services.

Students should make sure that the housing arrangements they make at Northwestern for the year that they will go on JR allow flexibility so they are not bound to leases and housing contracts for the quarter in which they are on JR.

NU dormitories allow students to leave without penalty during their JR quarter, although they are not guaranteed space in the same dormitory when they return. Students in sororities and fraternities should check with their houses for policies on leaving for a quarter, as these rules vary. Students who live in off-campus apartments should try to sublet during the quarter they are on JR.

Forms for JR Planning:

Magazine Form

Marketing Communications Form

Broadcast Form

News Form