Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference Scholarship

Scholarship Value: $1,000
Awards Available: 1
Award Deadline: Mar 1, 2024

The annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference for high school juniors returns to the nation’s capital June 22-27, 2024. The Freedom Forum is pleased to welcome students to a week of activities including panels with top journalists and visits to the U.S. Capitol and other landmarks in Washington, D.C.

Students selected for the program receive an all-expenses-paid trip and a $1,000 scholarship to the college of their choice.

The program was established in 1999 to honor Al Neuharth, founder of The Freedom Forum and USA TODAY. The conference is designed to inspire and encourage students to pursue journalism. Today there are more than 1,500 “Free Spirits” including journalists working for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, ESPN and network-affiliated TV stations.

Free Spirits have been described as people who “dream, dare, do.” Those are words that conference participants demonstrate each day, and they are the program’s motto.

“A free spirit can also be a risk-taker, a visionary, an innovative leader, or a courageous achiever. who accomplishes great things beyond his or her circumstances,” said Neuharth, who died in 2013.

Students from across the United States will be selected to participate in a five-day, all-expenses-paid conference in Washington, D.C. June 22-27, 2024. All applicants will be notified by mid-May whether or not they have been selected for the program.

The Freedom Forum makes all determinations without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or any other protected classification.

How to Apply


To apply for the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, you’ll complete the online application form (including information about you, your school and your academic, student media and extracurricular activities) and upload the required materials. ALL application materials are required to be uploaded in the online application.

  • Confirm you are eligible to apply.

To qualify as an applicant for this program:

  • You must be a high school junior who will graduate in the Class of 2025.
  • You must be interested in journalism.
    You must demonstrate qualities of a “free spirit,” which could include leadership, courage, creativity, risk-taking, innovative thinking, perseverance or rising above circumstances to accomplish something extraordinary.
  • You must be available to attend the conference June 22-27, 2024.

All supplemental application materials (transcripts, essays, etc) must be uploaded directly to your online application as preferably PDFs. (Word Documents are also permissible.) Do not send Google document links.

All applicants will be notified by mid-May whether they have been selected for the program.

The Freedom Forum makes all determinations without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or any other protected classification.

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