In the coming year, the new fellowship will fund up to three Nieman Fellowships for U.S. journalists who cover news in areas of the United States where resources are scarce. In addition to studying at Harvard University for an academic year, the Abrams Nieman Fellowship will include a fieldwork period, during which fellows will work on a public service journalism project for up to nine months.
This pilot fellowship program grows out of a shared belief by the Nieman Foundation and the Abrams Foundation that public-service fact-based local and regional investigative journalism is a vital component in a healthy democracy and is in need of new and creative means of support.
Addressing the need for the new initiative, Nieman Foundation curator Ann Marie Lipinski said: “This fellowship came about as the result of our steadfast belief in the importance of local investigative journalism and a desire to address the challenges faced by reporters and editors in many smaller markets. These journalists don’t always have adequate support for training and the resources necessary for investigative public service reporting. This expanded fellowship will invest in these individuals as important assets to their communities and give them the tools to report the issues that may otherwise go uncovered. I am tremendously grateful to Abrams Foundation President Amy Abrams for her collaboration, for recognizing this need, and for so generously supporting this vital work..”
Abrams, also a member of the Nieman Advisory Board, added, “When I was introduced to the Nieman Foundation, I immediately connected with its mission to ‘promote and elevate the standards of journalism’ and looked for ways for the Abrams Foundation to partner with Nieman. Since its inception, the Nieman Foundation has inspired generations of talented reporters and editors through its transformative yearlong fellowship. Now, the Abrams Nieman Fellowship is piloting an approach that focuses attention on underserved news markets, providing enhanced educational opportunities for journalists and increased resources for investigative reporting. In finding new ways to support local journalism, the Nieman Foundation demonstrates its gift for evolving while staying true to its vision of journalistic excellence.”
At Harvard, the Abrams Nieman Fellows will acquire new knowledge and skills, broaden their understanding of issues important to their communities, build leadership potential and develop an extensive network of expert contacts and potential collaborators in preparation of their fieldwork. The fellowship in broader terms is designed to strengthen journalism in some newsrooms that lack the means to support deep investigations important to local communities.
During their fieldwork, the Abrams Nieman Fellows will work on a public service reporting project for their home news organization and participate in specialized journalism education. During this time, the Abrams Nieman Fellows will return to Harvard University periodically and may create materials and content for Nieman Foundation publications. The fellows may also learn new skills such as audience development and engagement; database journalism; digital storytelling; FOIA requests and research; narrative reporting; and investigative tools and techniques.
The Abrams Nieman Fellowship additionally will provide opportunities for the fellows to build a support network of local journalists looking to collaborate on long-term reporting projects. Journalists who apply for the fellowship may be working on a project they wish to expand in some new way, or make plans to develop a new project during their fieldwork. Nieman alumni, many of whom have produced award-winning investigative work in small markets, will serve as advisors to the Abrams Nieman Fellows.
Candidates for the fellowship may work full time in print, broadcast or online, or as freelance journalists. The application deadline for the 2018-19 Abrams Nieman Fellowships is Feb. 15, 2018. Information about eligibility and the application process is available on the Nieman website.
Applicants for the Abrams Nieman Fellowship will be required to provide a description of the public-service project they plan to undertake during the fieldwork term, and have their employer submit a letter that indicates support for the proposal. Freelance journalists may wish to indicate potential partner organizations for their fieldwork project.
The Abrams Foundation
The Abrams Foundation is a Boston-based foundation established in 1997 by Amy and David Abrams. Recently, the Abrams Foundation has expanded its funding of journalism through the Abrams Journalism Initiative. Recent journalism grants have been awarded to “The FRONTLINE Dispatch,” ProPublica and The Marshall Project.
Amy Abrams, president of the Abrams Foundation, is a member of the Nieman Advisory Board, a 2015 Advanced Leadership Fellow and a 2016 Senior Advanced Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative.
The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard
The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard educates leaders in journalism and elevates the standards of the profession through special programs that convene scholars and experts in all fields. More than 1,500 accomplished and promising journalists from 96 countries have been awarded Nieman Fellowships since 1938. The foundation’s other initiatives include Nieman Reports, a quarterly print and online magazine that covers thought leadership in journalism; Nieman Lab, a website that reports on the future of news, innovation and best practices in the digital media age; and Nieman Storyboard, a website that showcases exceptional narrative journalism and explores the future of nonfiction storytelling.
For more information contact:
Nieman Fellowship Program Administrator