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Meet Inaugural Google Journalism Fellow Jan Boyles

By Ania Skinner

Jan Boyles

Jan Boyles beat out over 2000 competitors to secure one of the first-ever Google Journalism Fellowships.

There were 2,300 applicants for the first-ever Google Journalism Fellowship, which places fellows at various journalistic organizations to work on projects ranging from investigative reporting to press freedom. SOC PhD student Jan Boyles was one of only eight selected for this prestigious position.

"I have the highest of admiration for Google, and this was an amazing opportunity that I couldn't pass up," says Boyles. "When I got the phone call that I was chosen, I was flabbergasted."

Boyles will be working with Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism where she worked last summer doing research.

"I like their collegial environment and I have made many great friends there. Being able to return is a great opportunity," says Boyles.

Boyles and the other Google fellows will also have the opportunity to travel to Miami for the first week of the fellowship, where they will spend time in newsrooms and with the Knight Foundation learning about its funding priorities.

The fellowship will culminate with a week at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California. There, Boyles and her colleagues will work with designers and have a chance to be a part of the inner-workings of the corporation listed as the best company to work for in 2012 by Forbes.

"Google is so vital to the news industry," she explains. "Because the environment of news is changing so constantly and rapidly, people no longer look at one provider. They look at the whole spectrum. Google News brings all of that together, and makes itself a force to be reckoned with."

As a journalist and a PhD student doing research on the future of the news industry, a chance to add a Google fellowship to her already extensive list of accomplishments is an opportunity Boyles greatly appreciates.

Boyles also values the time she has spent in the PhD program in SOC, as well as the people who have helped her continue to pursue success there.

"The PhD program has opened so many amazing doors and possibilities. The faculty has been so wonderful in terms of mentorship; they have always been accessible by phone and e-mail and professors have put a lot of investment in us," she says.

Boyles' advice to other students: "Don't be scared. Try and go for the largest opportunity you can. You may get that surprise phone call saying, 'We want you to work for Google.'"