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


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 Abrams Nieman Fellowship for Local Investigative Journalism complete the Abrams Nieman Fellowship online application, which includes the same requirements as listed above as well as a project proposal.

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

  • A rolling application process is open through Sept. 25, 2020.

Nieman Fellowships

  • International Nieman Fellowship application (for non-U.S. citizens): Dec. 1, 2020
  • U.S. Nieman Fellowship application (for U.S. citizens): Jan. 31, 2021
  • Abrams Nieman Fellowship for Local Investigative Journalism: To be determined

Note that candidates for the Nieman-Berkman Klein Fellowship in Journalism Innovation or the Robert L. Long Nieman Fellowship for Turkish journalists should complete either the International Nieman Fellowship application or the U.S. Nieman Fellowship application, whichever is appropriate to their citizenship, and indicate interest in the relevant section.



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 Abrams Nieman Fellowship candidates

The project proposal is an essay of 500 words or less that describes the public service investigative project you will undertake during the fieldwork period of the fellowship. Applicants must include a projected timeline for this project and should also indicate what resources, training or additional support will be needed to accomplish this work. Freelancers should identify an appropriate local or regional newsroom partner for the stories envisioned and should explain why the news organization would be a good fit.

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 should be submitted to the online application via file uploads or URL. You may also provide a summary page that describes your samples. If any work samples exist only as hard copies or surpass the application’s file-size capacity, then those specific work samples may be sent to the address below, where they will be added to materials you submit with the online application. Please do not send originals; submitted materials will not be returned.

Nieman Foundation for Journalism
Fellowship Application
One Francis Avenue
Cambridge MA 02138-2009

Work Sample Specifications

  • We are most interested in your recent work. Most of your samples should have been published or broadcast in the year immediately prior to the completion of your application. One older sample may also be submitted.
  • Do not send complete newspapers or magazines, books, scrapbooks, unpublished manuscripts, works-in-progress, irreplaceable material, elaborate presentations (e.g. spiral bindings or report covers) or “creative” displays.
  • 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 may 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. 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. If your samples cannot be uploaded or submitted via a URL, you may mail a CD, DVD, flash drive or non-returnable printed photos to the Nieman Foundation.

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.

To submit a sample that cannot be uploaded to your online application or provided via a URL, you may mail a DVD, CD or flash drive to the Nieman Foundation.
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.

Applicants for the Abrams Nieman Fellowship for Local Investigative Journalism who work in a news organization must also submit a letter from their employer: The employer must indicate support for the public service project you plan to pursue and state the intent of the news organization to permit you to work on the project during your fieldwork. If the immediate supervisor who is writing one of your three letters of recommendation also will submit your letter of support, that person may do so within a single letter.

Once an applicant completes the references section of the online application for each recommender and – for Abrams Nieman Fellowship applicants – the person writing the letter of support, those individuals will receive an email with instructions to submit the letter. Each person will be given the option to upload the letter as a PDF or type/paste the letter online by the following dates:

  • International Nieman Fellowship applicants: Dec. 15, 2020
  • U.S. Nieman Fellowship applicants: Feb. 14, 2021
  • Abrams Nieman Fellowship applicants: TBD

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.


We anticipate opening applications for the 2021-2022 Nieman Fellowships in early October.

If you would like to be notified when we begin accepting applications for the 2021-2022 fellowships, please fill out this form:

For questions about the application process, contact Nieman Fellowship program administrator Nicole Arias or call 617-495-2238.