Entrepreneur in residence program

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is proud to support individual entrepreneurs building news and information products for local communities. We’re looking for experts in user-centered design, technology, digital marketing and business development who want to apply their experience to new projects aligned with the institute’s mission.

We are building a new type of organization based on a “venture philanthropy” model: pairing a non-profit structure with an entrepreneurial mindset. We encourage bold risk-taking on projects with the potential for major payoffs, recognizing many attempts aimed at transformation will deliver important new insights even if missing the mark on desired outcomes.

This program is our version of an entrepreneur in residence position common at many venture capital firms.

Our residents will be industry leaders who advise and mentor the institute’s partners and grantees, from large media organizations to startups, along with working on their own projects.

Residencies will last from 3-6 months and include up to a $10,000 monthly stipend for work in Philadelphia or remotely.

Entrepreneurs in residence seeking to use the Philadelphia metro area as a test lab are especially encouraged. All residents will be offered the potential to partner with and leverage the resources and reach of the Philadelphia Media Network, along with workspace in our shared office/newsroom.

The institute is also strongly interested in applicants from major metro areas across the United States whose projects can be applied to Philadelphia and scaled to similar metro regions. Those doing residencies remotely will occasionally travel to Philadelphia for meetings and events.

Underpinning all residencies is the Institute’s focus on creating sustainable local business models, the main challenge to survival for regional newspapers that have long been the foundation of local information ecosystems.

Residents will be expected to work within one or more of the following focus areas:

  • News and Information Products: New approaches to collecting news and information, and to reporting, storytelling and distribution that embrace the possibilities of technology, expand audiences, deepen relationships with existing readers and ultimately lead to business sustainability.
  • Reaching Underserved Communities: Meaningful approaches to reach and empower people in diverse local communities who are generally underserved by mainstream news media.
  • New revenue sources: New business models for local news and information products that assure sustainability.
  • Community Engagement: New methods to engage deeply with the local community, whether in-person or digitally. Rethinking the relationship between media and the public, which may lead to new forms of financial support.
  • Local News Ecosystem Collaboration: Bringing together existing and new players in novel ways to fuel new forms of media, cost-efficiency, impact and sustainability.

Who should apply?

We are looking for anyone passionate about new approaches to local news and information products. We especially encourage applicants who don’t have traditional journalism and media backgrounds.

What do EIRs receive?

Benefits include:

  • Up to $10,000 monthly stipend
  • Philadelphia market test lab, including Philadelphia Media Network properties (The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Philadelphia Daily News) and other local partners in the Philadelphia news ecosystem
  • Access to our expert network of board members and outside advisers, offering help with user research and prototyping, software architecture and development, fundraising, business strategy and legal advice
  • Partnership with leading academic institutions offering research and other resources, including Drexel, Penn and Temple universities in Philadelphia, Columbia University and City University of New York.

How do I apply?

Please complete the application form at

The application deadline is Friday, June 30. We will notify semi-finalists in July, and conduct interviews and check references before making our final selections by August. The first group of entrepreneurs in residence will be expected to start work in fall 2017.

How can I find out more about who you’re looking for?

We will be holding a couple of open conference calls during the application period to answer your questions. To receive updates on these as well as general institute news, please sign up for our email list at You can also contact Burt Herman, the institute’s director of innovation projects, at burt (at) lenfestinstitute (dot) org.

How will I report on the results of my residency?

We require entrepreneurs in residence to document their work publicly, whether in the form of blog posts, white papers, talks at conferences, etc. to fulfill our public mission and share your learnings as widely as possible.