Hugh S. Sidey Experience in Political Journalism

Hugh S. Sidey Experience in Political Journalism


Hugh S. Sidey, Photo courtesy of the White House Historical Association

This award is designed to jump-start the career of a student interested in political communication. The student selected for this award will receive a $5000 scholarship, an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C. and an invitation to join the White House Historical Association at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner to network with other political communicators and be included among the White House Historical Association scholarship winners honored at the dinner (if COVID-19 conditions allow for travel and events).***

Hugh S. Sidey covered the U.S. Presidency for TIME magazine for close to half a century, where he was able to develop close relationships with ten presidents, from Dwight D. Eisenhower through George W. Bush. Sidey used his writing to go beyond the headlines and capture the humanity behind the office.

The responsibilities of covering the presidency and the core principle of social responsibility that resides within journalism remain as critical today as it was during Sidey’s career. That is why The White House Historical Association and Mr. David M. Rubenstein is supporting aspiring political journalists at the Greenlee School through this generous award.

How to apply

To apply for the Hugh S. Sidey Experience in Political Journalism, submit a 500-word essay answering the following question:

As an aspiring professional in political communication, how would you hope your work would embody the social responsibility involved in covering this current presidency?

Sidey was known for his distinct writing style and the reviewers will use your essay to get a sense of your own writing style. Your essay will be evaluated on the insightfulness of your content, but also your own style and writing ability. It is recommended to review some of Sidey’s columns from TIME magazine, available electronically from the ISU Parks Library. Search for “THE PRESIDENCY by HUGH SIDEY” and you will have access to the full-texts of many of his works. Please note the essay guidelines changed after 2020, therefore the winning essays from previous years may no longer serve as strong templates under the current guidelines.

Applicants must be Greenlee School majors and have successfully completed JL MC 201 and who at the time of submission plan to spend at least one additional full semester at ISU before graduation.

Do not include your name anywhere in your essay. Include a cover sheet with your materials that includes your name, title of your essay, Ames address, cell phone number and email.

2023 essays are due on Dec. 1, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. to The recipient will be announced by the end of December 2023.


What past Sidey scholars say

Photo of Cooper Pierce

I am honored to receive the Hugh S. Sidey Scholarship. Hugh Sidey is a shining example of what a young student from the Midwest can accomplish over the course of their career.”

Cooper Pierce
2021 Scholar

Photo of Teagan Gara

Without the help of everyone involved, I would have never been able to learn and grow as a journalist and as a student. I am forever grateful for the endless opportunities and new doors that it has opened for me. ”

Teagan Gara
2020 scholar

Photo of Olivia Benjamin

I shared my unique experience of reporting on the Iowa Caucuses, which involved spending most of my time during the fall 2019 semester following around and writing about the 2020 political contenders as they flocked to our state.”

Olivia Benjamin
2019 scholar

Photo of Alex Connor

It was an unforgettable experience to be in a room with my journalism heroes. I was nervous, of course, but everyone was so kind and welcoming.”

Alex Connor
2018 scholar

Photo of Alex Hanson

Probably the most beneficial was being able to network with all these people who are in the trenches every day.”

Alex Hanson
2016 scholar



Varad Diwate (left) meets Chuck Todd on the set of “Meet the Press” in 2015.

Benefits that go beyond

  • The $5,000 prize does not have to be applied to your U-bill.
  • Past scholars have also attended panels populated by current White House correspondents, had coffee with experienced journalists and visited some of the nation’s top newsrooms during their trips to Washington, D.C. You might even get to squeeze in some sightseeing, too!
  •  You’ll join an elite group of former students, now alumni, who have received this prestigious honor since 2007 and whose names are proudly displayed in Hamilton Hall. Past Sidey scholars work in high-profile careers at outlets like USA Today, NBC, the Atlantic, Time magazine, and other leading media outlets and organizations.
  • You’ll boost your resume and have an amazing adventure to discuss in future internship and job interviews.


News about former scholars


 Past winners of the Hugh Sidey scholarship

Anna Olson named Hugh S. Sidey scholar by White House Historical Association