Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the landmark juvenile justice reform bill known as Raise the Age, April 2017. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor


About the Fellowship:

The New York bureau for the nonprofit news outlet The Chronicle of Social Change is looking for four journalists across upstate and western New York to cover the implementation of Raise the Age, Governor Cuomo’s landmark juvenile justice reform legislation. The Fellowship runs from February through July 2019 and includes training and stipends. We’ll also connect you to our nationwide network of juvenile justice sources, and help you place your stories in regional or national news outlets.

Each fellow will be responsible for producing 3-5 stories during the fellowship period, covering Raise the Age implementation in their region. Two student journalists and two professional journalists located in different regions will be selected for the fellowship.


About Raise the Age:

A wave of juvenile justice reform has swept the nation in recent years. Armed with a new scientific consensus on adolescent development and horrific stories of young people locked up in adult jails and prisons, advocates have successfully argued for minimally secured youth facilities that emphasize rehabilitation instead of punishment and restraint.

Twenty states have narrowed youth involvement in the adult criminal justice system since 2015. In April of 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction in New York from 16 to 18. Starting October 1st of this year, New York 16-year-olds were re-routed out of adult courts and facilities and into Family Court and qualifying youth facilities. By October of 2019, 17-year-olds will follow them.

Crucial to the vision behind these reforms, the state is embarking on ambitious efforts to relocate or rebuild their juvenile placement facilities. The state is also restructuring its court systems to accommodate youth who will be newly classified out of the adult court system. Police will also follow new protocols interviewing youth who are suspected of committing a crime, among other reforms.

Despite the recent growth in the nonprofit news industry, there remains a monumental gap in state and local news coverage – most acutely felt outside of the major cities. New York State’s efforts to move young people out of the adult criminal justice system will be varied across its 62 counties, and we believe covering county- and region-level efforts will promote accountability, elevate best practices, and identify common challenges.

Stipend size: $2,000 - 3,000


Professional journalists:


—3 Writing clips

—2 References

—2 Raise the Age-related story ideas

Student journalists:


—2 Writing clips (school newspaper stories are fine)

—2 References

—1 Raise the Age-related story idea



About The Chronicle of Social Change

The Chronicle is a growing national news site dedicated to covering child welfare and juvenile justice, and the circumstances that land children, youth and families in both systems. We are currently expanding our work into new regions across the country, including a recently opened office in New York City to augment our coverage from California, Arizona, Wyoming, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. Multiple-time winner of LA Press Club awards, the publication has been widely cited by NPR, the Associated Press, Politico, and countless other local and national outlets. The Youth Justice Reporting Fellowship is overseen by Michael Fitzgerald, the New York City-based northeast editor for The Chronicle of Social Change. He is a former senior editor at Pacific Standard, where he was apart of a small team that won two National Magazine Awards in three years, and has also written for Wired, The New Republic, and Outside.