THE DEMOCRACY GROUP PODCAST FELLOWSHIP

sTART A PODCAST and become a leading voice in democracy IN 12 WEEKS

The Democracy Group Podcast Fellowship is a 12-week remote program for Gen Z leaders who want to start a podcast and build an audience to strengthen democracy, engaging diverse viewpoints, and bridging political divides.

Applications now closed.

Join the Fellowship commencement on Zoom on Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 5:00 PM EST to hear our fellows pitch their podcasts and celebrated their work.

Join the commencement

Meet OUR Fellows

Aprile Kim

Aprile Kim is a third year student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor pursuing a double major in Political Science and Philosophy and a double minor in Japanese and International Studies, with a thematic focus on International Security, Norms, and Cooperation. She is the proud daughter of first-generation Korean immigrants to the unincorporated U.S. territory of Guam, from which her roots have instilled in her a strong passion and demands for American politics and its implications for democracy - or rather the version it attempts to function as today. What particularly draws her to the work ofThe Democracy Group is the organization's ability to give voices to marginalized communities, and she intends on leveraging this fellowship opportunity to exemplify the shortcomings of democracy in U.S. territories as her home island of Guam, breaches in the fundamental concept of the democratic system that are hidden away from the eyes of national politics under the guise of colonialism. Biba Guahån!

Saanvi Kapu

Saanvi Kapu is a Junior at Athens High School from Michigan. She is a first-generation Indian-American and has always had a passion for serving her community. From organizing local events to actively participating in youth-led initiatives, she loves making a positive impact! She always had a passion for community service and healthcare, and she hopes to use this ambition to enter medicine in the future. Through podcasting, she hopes to learn more about developing her voice, connecting with like minded peers, and conversing with professionals in the field. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies, listening to music, and volunteering.

Virginia Jones

Virginia Jones is a student at the University of South Carolina majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Political Science. A few years ago, she discovered her interest in politics, particularly in political media, and decided to incorporate this passion into her education. When searching for a way to approach political issues, she found podcasts to be the best form because these dialogues helped her understand nuanced and complex political conversations better than any other method of consumption. She is excited about the potential of podcasting to facilitate meaningful discussions, bridge divides, and foster positive change in our democracy.

Maggie LeBeau

Maggie LeBeau is a senior at Glenbard East High School in Lombard, Illinois. Because this is her first podcasting experience, she is excited to learn from professionals and her peers about audio storytelling and exploring youth political engagement. Maggie has been involved in journalism since her freshman year as a writer for her school's newspaper, the Echo, and has served as editor-in-chief for three years. Outside of school, she is a part of the Media Wise Teen Fact-Checking Network, making videos about media literacy and misinformation for young people. In 2022, she was a finalist for the PBS Student Reporting Labs Student Journalism Challenge, and in 2023, she won the Harvard Crimson Journalism Reporting Competition. Maggie also attended the Eastern Illinois University Summer Journalism Workshop in 2022 and the Boston University Summer Journalism Institute in 2023. In December, she was selected as a PBS Student Reporting Labs fellow, attending their winter academy on video storytelling. Next year, she plans on majoring in journalism and political science at the University of Missouri, hoping to spend her career reporting on politics.

Simran Gupta

Simran is a junior in high school. She is passionate about government and politics as well as the education of youth and is excited to explore these interests through The Democracy Group Podcast Fellowship! She believes that life is all about learning new things, but interpreting information in a way that’s meaningful is difficult, especially in this day and age where news is readily available and shared whether it’s accurate or not. That’s why she’s excited to be part of an initiative to offer this upcoming generation information that is 100% trustworthy and impactful.

Kayla Anderson

Kayla Anderson is a 3rd year Political Science major on the pre-law track. She currently serves as the vice president of the Undergraduate Black Law Student Association, treasurer of the Minority Collegiate Outreach and Support Team, and DEI committee co-chair for her Law and Society Scholars Program. Outside of school, she often volunteers with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus which provides free legal services for low-income Columbus residents. She began exploring podcasts during covid and quickly grew to enjoy this new medium. She looks forward to participating in this fellowship as it will allow her to navigate an unfamiliar platform and use it to discuss topics that she is very passionate about.

FAST FACTS

Application

Applications are due February 12th, and acceptance notifications will be sent within the following weeks.

Eligibility

The fellowship is open to any high school or college student or group of students working as a team in the United States.

Timeline

The program begins in mid February and ends in May, and requires about five hours per week.

Program

The program is digital-first and entirely free for accepted students.

what to expect

launch a podcast

Spend 12 weeks diving deep into how to start a podcast. Navigate the complexity of starting and growing a podcast with intimate workshops, peer editing, distribution and growth frameworks and much more.

DEVELOP YOUR VOICE

Throughout the program, work with your peers and TDG mentors to unleash your unique civic voice to build a brighter future for our democracy.

Speaker at podium illustration

GROW AN AUDIENCE OF CHANGEMAKERS

Learn the strategies and tactics that have helped the best podcasters in the space build audiences who will support you in your journey to make change.

ENGAGE DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES

The fellowship will include lighting lessons and coaching sessions from thought leaders across the political spectrum.

Here's what you'll get

Specialized training

Access a library of short, action orientated lessons from podcasting experts in our network.

LIVE WORKSHOPS

Join the other fellows and TDG mentors live each week to practice your skills.

Mentor matching

Get paired with mentors from the TDG network who will help you develop your podcast.

Fellow community

Interact with fellows like you who are passionate about democracy.

launch support

Launch your podcast with a bang by tapping into our network's distribution channels.

Stipend

Gain a stipend to help cover the costs of starting your podcast including equipment and hosting.

your learning guides

with support from some of the best hosts in the space

and leading organizations in democracy & podcasting

fellowship curriculm

Week 1: Introduction

Navigating the Podcaster Fellowship

Live kickoff meeting to go over the fellowship, what to expect, and meeting the other fellows and network.

Podcasting to Save Democracy

Learn how podcasting and media can help to fix our democracy from experts in the TDG network including journalists, media specialists, indie producers, and academics.

Week 2: How To Save Democracy

Democracy Dangers

Learning the issues and understanding the problems our democracy faces and what it needs.

Democracy & Systems Thinking

Learn to critically think about the issues, understanding the multiple complex systems that affect them. Learn how to take the perspectives of the stakeholders in these systems, in order to articulate their concerns to the public in your podcasts.

Week 3: Finding Your Niche & Voice

Finding Your Niche & Understanding Your Audience

Learn how to find your niche and explicit topics you would like to focus your podcast on. Learn the power of serving an audience by giving voice to underrepresented communities and niches. Learn how to research audiences and discover their needs, as well as how to expose your audiences to ideas that challenge them.

Developing Your Voice & Brand

Learn how to be thought leaders, developing your brand through articulating issues in democracy through spoken word. Learn how to present arguments that are informed, engaging, and entertaining for your audience.

Week 4: Masting the Nuts & Bolts

Podcast Infrastructure and Recording

Learn how to effectively use your podcasting equipment, set up efficient podcasting systems and workflows with best practices for recording.

Consistent Content Creation

Learn how to curate content ideas in order to keep a consistent publishing schedule.

Week 5: Booking Guests, Research & Interviewing

Booking World-Class Guests

Learn how to source and reach out to potential guests. Learn how to review a guest’s credibility and understand how the guest’s perspective or expertise can inform the podcast’s audience.

Interviewing Like a Pro

Gain the skills necessary to structure and conduct engaging interviews. Learn the art of asking questions and creating story arcs to your interviews. You will practice and hone these skills with the leadership of media coaches.

Research 101

Learn how to conduct research in preparation for your guests, how to determine reliable sources, and creating research documents to aid them your interviews.

Week 6: Editing & Publishing

Editing Podcasts

Learn the in’s and outs of the editing process. Learn how to structure and craft engaging podcast episodes in post production.

Platforms and Publishing

Discover the podcast platforms and alternative media outlets. Gain an understanding of the media landscape as a whole and its relationship with alternative media.

Week 7: Launch, Growth & Audience Building

Creating a Launch Strategy

Create a strategy to get early momentum, marketing, and press for your podcasts. Learn how to create a media event around your launch.

Growth Strategies

Learn growth hacking strategies to get your podcasts out to wider audiences. Learn how to convert those audiences into building your own community.

Community Building

Learn how to foster long lasting relationships among your listeners and bridging the divides that lead to toxic polarization. Learn the importance of getting feedback from your audience, serving their needs, and amplifying their voices on important issues in democracy.

Week 8: CAREERS IN POLITICAL PODCASTS

Ethics in Podcasting

Learn the ethical responsibilities of podcasters and how you can take ethical actions.

Careers in Podcasting

Explore different options for careers in podcasting and how to best leverage your skills for career oppritunties.

Week 9-12: Podcast Production and Mentoring

Launch Your Podcast!

Create your trailer and first two episodes with the help of a mentor from The Democracy Group and get ready for launch!

APPLY FOR THE democracy group podcast FELLOWSHIP TODAY!

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Still have questions?

How many hours a week is the Fellowship?

The Fellowship requires about three-five hours a week of a mix of live workshops, mentor meetings, and production time.

Who is eligible for the Fellowship?

The fellowship is open to any high school or college student or group of students working as a team in the United States.

What are the application requirements?

The application consists of basic demographic information, a few written response questions to gauge your potential as a fellow, and an opprituntity to share your passion about democracy as a one minute audio recording.

Does TDG have a political affiliation?

No, TDG is a non-partisan organization. And in fact, our training helps students grow into thinkers and leaders whose identity and impact transcend conventional political bounds.

What is the application timeline?

Applications are due October 21, and acceptance notifications will be sent November 28. The Fellowship will officially begin in early January.

Meet OUR PAST Fellows

Teya Hisel

Teya Hisel is a senior at the University of Southern California, double majoring in Global Studies and Philosophy, Politics, and Law. She is from the Seattle, Washington area, where she started her public service journey working for multiple non-profits during a gap year fellowship before attending USC. More recently, she was a Fellow at United Way of Greater Los Angeles and a Research Intern for Downtown Women's Center. She also currently serves on campus as the President and Policy Director of advocaSC, a student organization focused on advocating for local policy change, educating the USC community, and serving South LA directly, in support of our unhoused neighbors. She is excited to learn the ins and outs of podcasting so she can develop her voice and engage her passion for civic engagement.

Sruthi Pereddy

Sruthi Pereddy is a junior at International Academy East. She is an avid listener of many podcasts and looks forward to learning how to produce a podcast like those she admires.

Jacob Mellander

Jacob Mellander is a student at NC State studying Political Science. One of the reasons he is passionate about podcasting is that we can hold politicians accountable and create active change in our community.

David Olshinski

David Olshinski is a current Political Science student at NC State University, with a passion for diving into the media space for politics. He believes one of the ways that we can create active change is by having a voice in our communities, which can be achieved through podcasting.

Medhana Kethamreddy

Medhana Kethamreddy is an eleventh grader at International Academy East in Michigan and has aspirations to eventually work in the medical field. She enjoys math, biology, and chemistry. One thing that she is most excited for is that through her podcast she can reach out to the community using means that have not been accessible to her before.

Nivea Krishnan

Nivea Krishnan is a junior studying Public Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California. This past summer, she worked as a political intern at Crooked Media, a political media company that has produced hit podcasts like Pod Save America. Having gotten a look at the behind-the-scenes of podcast production, she's excited to build her own voice and brand centered around promoting youth political discourse.

Krish Desai

Krish Desai is a junior at the International Academy East Campus in Michigan. Something that he is excited about is that his dream of starting a podcast will finally happen as he's never been given the opportunity to start one at such high quality.

Chelsea Nunez-Peralta

Chelsea Nunez-Peralta is international politics major at Penn State University. She chose to study political science because she wanted to make a difference from the inside out. As she's grown older and been exposed to political systems, her career and personal goals have evolved. What has stayed consistent is her passion and devotion to democracy and ensuring that we continuously push for equity. She can't wait to have the opportunity to have authentic conversations and create something that is wholly her own. She's confident that given the tools and support, she can do something meaningful that creates a difference.

Jackson Haugh

Jackson Haugh is a second year political science student at Iowa State University. What really got him excited about politics was the debate scene around 2015/2016 on YouTube. He believes that political debates are a great and humbling experience for many, unfortunately real debates are not mainstream. The types of debates we are familiar with take place on Twitter and Network TV are not informative or a battle of ideas as they are attempts to engineer vapid slogans to rile up a voterbase. He's excited to podcast and plan on using his podcast to practice real debates.

Shreya Devaram

Shreya Devaram is a senior in high school from Upstate NY. She likes to read books, play racquet sports, travel, and bake desserts. She plans to double major in computer science and political science in college.

Emma Schulman

Emma Schulman is a journalist and a Political science major at CU Boulder. What she loves about audio is the ability to make more stories feel alive. When she is not working she is doing ju jitssu, planning her trip to her next destination, or reading comics.

Joseph Picarillo

Joey Picarillo is a student at Penn State, where he majors in both Political Science and History. More specifically, the fields of Democratic Theory and early American Republic history are what interest him the most. He believes that our American democracy, while imperfect, is a beautiful thing that must be protected and expanded in order to ensure a brighter future for our fellow citizens. He hopes that he can use podcasting as a way to educate people on the importance of democratic institutions. Key influences in his studies are Robert A. Dahl, Larry Diamond, and Gordon S. Wood.

Sean Schrader

Sean Schrader is currently a final-year MBA candidate at the University of South Florida, and has been fortunate to work on social impact projects focused on tackling our most significant challenges at the local, state, and national levels. Sean is passionate about civility, and is excited to strengthen his podcasting skills in hopes to bolster civic engagement more broadly

Kabod Mauwong

KJ Mauwong is political science major at Swarthmore College studyin political theory, comparative politics, and American foreign policy. He loves talking with people and engaging in conversation. Discussion is what drives democracy, and in this day and age, it's good to be able to do so civilly and productively. He wants to create an environment of growth and learning so that everyone listening in can walk away with something to think about or maybe even joke about. In his spare time, he likes to play guitar, powerlifting, legos, and badminton.

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