Apply by Feb. 25 for the California Local News fellowship and work for SJV Water

February 7, 2024
by Lois Henry
Lois Henry

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SJV Water was selected as a finalist host newsroom for the California Local News Fellowship.

This is a state-funded two-year fellowship administered through UC Berkeley for early career journalists. It pays a generous salary of $60,000 to $65,000 depending on experience, plus benefits.

It is open to all California early career journalists, not just UC Berkeley grads.

The fellowship application is open now through Feb. 25.

If SJV Water matches with a fellow, the journalist would work directly for SJV Water but be paid through the fellowship.

This is an exceptional opportunity for both young journalists and SJV Water.

For this job, the fellow would be required to live in Kings County and must have transportation.

Coverage topic areas

  • Numerous water agency meetings
  • County board of supervisors
  • Lawsuits and court hearings
  • New water projects such as canals or wells
  • Community programs including clean water actions
  • Declining groundwater levels
  • Major weather events


  • Go over meeting agendas and story ideas weekly with Editor Lois Henry to determine which meetings to attend and which stories to follow.
  • Attend a minimum of three meetings per week, potentially more if scheduling permits
  • Write and publish a minimum of two articles per week


  • Good organizational and communication skills (keeping your editor apprised of your work and schedule is KEY)
  • You’re a self-starter, work collaboratively and are eager to learn
  • Some journalism experience either through school work or internships
  • Can accept and learn from editing

SJV Water is a very collaborative newsroom, working with other valley media so the fellow would have the opportunity to work on team projects with other publications and possibly work in other mediums, such as video and radio.

The fellow would also take photos and video and record audio as needed.

Lois Henry, the CEO and Editor of SJV Water, has more than 30 years of experience as a reporter and editor. She provides reporters with a solid mission sense so they understand the job and how to do it, but she also allows them enough room to find their own stories and writing voice.

She worked for many years as a writing coach, project editor and intern coordinator at The Bakersfield Californian.

SJV Water has two other full time reporters, including Jesse Vad, covering state meetings, general assignment and doing video stories, and Lisa McEwen, who covers Tulare County water issues.

We all meet once a week via zoom with lots of texting, emailing and phone calls in between!

The setting:

Kings County is a small rural area that is almost entirely dependent on agriculture. It is dominated by one of the largest growers in California, the J.G. Boswell Company. But there are others, including Sandridge Partners, run by John Vidovich. While Boswell has a storied past in California’s ag and water history, Vidovich has been an aggressive newcomer whose efforts haven’t been appreciated by many, including Boswell.

SJV Water’s previous reporting on Kings water issues has run in the New York Times and led state and national coverage during the floods.

The two ag titans are locked in an ongoing water war with Vidovich publicly accusing Boswell of selling off surface water then overpumping groundwater so badly it has contributed to sinking an entire town. Vidovich, meanwhile has been accused of his own antics.

The San Joaquin Valley has suffered under withering drought that has cut water to whole communities. Then devastating floods submerged thousands of acres making it impossible to farm. So, never a dull moment!

Reporting in this region will expose journalists to the drama, politics and power over who controls California’s most vital resource – water.

Job is contingent on the candidate and SJV Water matching through California Local News Fellowship. Apply for the fellowship HERE now through Feb. 25, 2024.

SJV Water is an independent, nonprofit news site dedicated to covering water in the San Joaquin Valley. Get inside access to SJV Water by becoming a member.


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