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Project on Government Oversight – Washington, D.C.

This fellowship is made possible with generous support from the Omidyar Network.

Summer 2013 Fellow: Jana Persky

Faculty Mentor: Bruce Owen

Office Description:

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.  POGO uses the methods of investigative journalism—working with whistleblowers and policymakers—to expose problems and explore solutions. Recent investigations have exposed the “Lord of the Flies” security environment at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, government regulators’ cozy relationship with industry leading up to the Deepwater Horizon Disaster, conflicts of interest in financial regulation and reform, and problems with medical device safety enforcement at the FDA. For more information, please visit POGO’s official website.

Potential Projects:

POGO operates much like a newsroom, and interns are assigned a variety of projects. The main job of our interns is to assist in researching. The intern’s research often requires them to file Freedom of Information Act requests as well as go to congressional hearings, and different government agencies. On occasion, interns work with whistleblowers. Sometimes the intern’s research culminates in a POGO report. Besides research, some interns have written opinion-editorial pieces for media release and assist in the writing and editing of testimony to be delivered at congressional hearings. Usually less than 20% is spent doing administrative work—from bulk mailings and answering the phone to filing—since all the staff share this work.

Desired Personal Qualities:

  • Bright
  • Curious
  • Attentive to detail
  • Interested in journalism or public policy 

Desired Skills, Experience, and Coursework:

  • Strong research and writing skills
  • Coursework on American government or history encouraged but not required
  • Journalism experience also welcome

Main Fellowship Disciplines:

POGO is not looking for an intern to have a specific major. While most interns are majoring in public administration, public policy, or government, one of our most successful interns majored in physics. A desire to learn about government accountability is the background POGO is looking for.