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Nieman Foundation, April 12, 2019, Steve Almond - writing class. Lisa Abitbol


How to Apply

Application requirements:

All Nieman Fellowship applicants must complete an online application form. Candidates for academic-year fellowships must submit the following information as part of their package: two essays; a professional profile and study plan summary; work samples and three letters of recommendation.

Candidates for the Nieman Visiting Fellowships complete a streamlined application that requires only biographical information, a résumé and a project proposal.

Questions about the application process may be sent to fellowship program administrator Nicole Arias.

Application deadlines:

Nieman Visiting Fellowships

Nieman Fellowships

  • International Nieman Fellowship application (for non-U.S. citizens): December 1
  • U.S. Nieman Fellowship application (for U.S. citizens): January 31


With the exception of Nieman Visiting Fellowship applicants, all fellowship candidates must submit two essays: a personal statement and a proposal for study at Harvard. These essays are equally important parts of the application and selection committee members review them carefully. When writing, include examples from your life and work that demonstrate that you have a significant capacity for growth and leadership. We also want to know how a year at Harvard will help make you a better journalist. Please observe word limits.

Personal statement

The personal statement is an essay of 1,000 words or less that describes your journalistic experience, career plans and goals. What experiences in life and in journalism have shaped you? What personal and journalistic values and intellectual interests have influenced your decision to apply? What motivates your commitment to journalistic excellence? What are your aspirations for your life ahead in journalism? Why have you chosen this time for a transformative experience away from work?

Proposal for study at Harvard

The study proposal is an essay of 500 words or less that describes how you plan to spend a year at Harvard. What will you study during the fellowship year? What is the driving question or interest that will shape your year? It is not necessary to specify course titles, but please identify the resources at Harvard and in the Cambridge area that will serve your goals in journalism.

Candidates applying for a Nieman-Berkman Fellowship for Journalism Innovation should explain how their proposed projects or course of research could have impact on the broader world of journalism.

Project proposal for visiting fellowship candidates

The project proposal is an essay of 600 words or less that describes the project you plan to pursue as a visiting fellow at Harvard. Which particular Harvard or local resources will be especially important and useful? How, specifically, will you use your fellowship time to advance the project? What will be the end product or result of your fellowship? How will your work benefit journalism? As you prepare your proposal, it may be helpful for you to read about the many diverse projects undertaken by our recent visiting fellows.


Send two summaries: a professional profile and a study plan.

Professional profile

Provide a short profile (no more than 100 words) that summarizes your professional career including your current position (work title and news organization, if appropriate); publications that you have written for and/or other news organizations where you have worked; journalism awards you have won; beats and issues that you cover; special interests, etc.

Study plan summary:

Provide a brief summary (50 words) of your study plan.

View examples of professional profiles and summaries

Work Samples

Work samples must be submitted to the online application via file uploads or URLs. You may also provide a summary page that describes your samples.

Work Sample Specifications

  • We are most interested in your recent work. Most of your samples should have been published or broadcast in the 12 months immediately prior to the completion of your application. One older sample may also be submitted.
  • Please clearly date all your samples and do not send more than the requested number.
  • If your samples are not in English, please include a summary of their contents in English. Supporting materials must also be in English.
  • Nieman-Berkman Klein candidates who work for a news organization in a business, technology, or leadership capacity may omit the work samples portion of the application, but should attach other documentation that illustrates the work they do.

Print and Online Journalists

  • Writers: Submit four samples of published work, including publication dates. Samples must be submitted via URLs or individual PDF file uploads.
  • Editors: Include a statement describing your job. (This is in addition to your two essays.) This statement should be submitted as a PDF file upload to the Portfolio section of the application. You may list URLs or include files of published work along with a description of your role in these samples. For published work, follow the instructions for writers above.
  • Photographers: Submit at least eight samples of your work via file uploads or URLs. A sample could be a single image, an article that includes multiple images, or a PDF excerpt from a published book. Image files up to 10MB each and PDF files up to 20MB each may be uploaded to the online application.

Broadcast Journalists

Work samples collectively should run no longer than 60 minutes. Include a written synopsis of each sample with a brief description of your involvement in each piece. Video files up to 500MB each and audio files up to 60MB each may be uploaded to the application, or instead provide a URL to your work online.

If you have questions about what types of work samples are acceptable, contact fellowship program administrator Nicole Arias.

Letters of Recommendation

Three confidential letters of recommendation are required. These letters should indicate how your abilities and experience make you stand out as a fellowship candidate and should describe your qualifications, your potential for professional growth and leadership, and the impact a fellowship might have on your career in journalism.

Once an applicant completes the references section of the online application for each recommender, SlideRoom will send an auto-generated email to each person with a link to access the online recommendation portal. That email is sent from with the subject line “The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard recommendation request from [applicant name] for Nieman Fellowships.” Each recommender will be able to type or copy/paste the letter within this portal (no file uploads) by the following dates:

  • International Nieman Fellowship applicants: December 15
  • U.S. Nieman Fellowship applicants: February 14

Recommendations should be written by:

  • Two professional associates familiar with your work who can comment on your journalistic abilities and potential for growth and leadership (e.g., current or former colleagues, mentors/advisors).
  • An immediate supervisor with an appraisal of your qualifications. (Freelancers: This may be someone who has recently worked with you in a supervisory capacity.)

Nieman Visiting Fellowship applicants are not required to supply letters of recommendation.


Submissions have closed for the 2024-2025 academic-year Nieman Fellowships. Applications for the 2025-2026 Nieman Fellowships will open in early October. The deadlines to apply will be Dec. 1 for international journalists (non-U.S. citizens, even if you work in the U.S.) and Jan. 31 for U.S. journalists (U.S. citizens, even if you don’t work in the U.S.).

For questions about the application process, contact Nieman Fellowship program administrator Nicole Arias.