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The gate to Lippmann House, home of The Nieman Foundation

The front gate of Lippmann House, which is home to the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard

The coronavirus pandemic and the movement for racial justice present American society—and American newsrooms—with urgent challenges and opportunities for change. In response, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University is dedicating its next round of Visiting Fellowships to journalism projects that address these dual challenges.

For one year beginning this fall, Nieman will offer remote Visiting Fellowships in support of projects that advance racial justice and public health journalism in the U.S. This special initiative will provide targeted research opportunities and specialized training to individuals with concrete and innovative ideas supporting one or more of the following goals:

  • Advance the representation of journalists of color throughout the news industry
  • Improve coverage of underreported stories and communities
  • Explain the impact of coronavirus on an area or group
  • Enhance reporting expertise and coverage of public health in a community

Visiting Fellows will work remotely but be in regular contact with Nieman staff, Harvard experts, and members of Nieman’s vast alumni network, who can serve as advisers. Fellows may utilize the extensive resources at Harvard University, including scholars, research centers and libraries, either in developing a project that can be completed during the visiting fellowship or as part of a larger undertaking that continues after the fellowship period ends. Visiting Fellows will also be invited to digitally attend relevant programs organized for members of the yearlong Nieman Fellows class of 2021.

Those selected for the Visiting Fellowship may also request specialized training for their newsrooms and/or project-related funding that can be used to develop, launch or expand an initiative around newsroom representation or public health journalism.

Visiting Fellows are expected to share their progress and findings either through publication on one of Nieman’s websites—Nieman Reports, Nieman Journalism Lab, and Nieman Storyboard—or in another medium better suited to the project.

Those who should consider applying include journalists, publishers, technologists, entrepreneurs, programmers, designers, media analysts, academics and others who want to make an impact on journalism. There is no age limit or academic prerequisites and a college degree is not required.

The fellowship is open to the broadest range of journalists, from those with legacy affiliations to those who work independently. We are especially interested in applicants from community media (including but not limited to Black, Latino, Asian and Indigenous news outlets) and anyone who works to serve communities that are underrepresented in media.

Applicants will not be expected to take a leave of absence from their organizations if awarded a Visiting Fellowship. Those who intend to continue their work within a news organization must request a letter of support from their supervisor, which should state the intent of the news organization to permit the applicant to work on the project for the duration of the fellowship period.

Freelance applicants and academics are not required to have a letter of support but should indicate potential partner organizations for any publishing or other actionable component of their project.

Fellowship duration and application

A rolling application process is open now through the application deadline of September 25. Nieman may begin selecting some fellows prior to the September application deadline.

Visiting Fellowship applicants should list their preferred start date and the number of weeks requested, which should not exceed 20. The Nieman Foundation will work with selected fellows to determine a start date. The duration of the fellowship awarded may be shorter than the number of weeks requested.

Applicants will be required to provide a short (no more than 600 words) proposal.

Financial support

Nieman will support the fellows with a weekly stipend of $2,000, which will be paid monthly. If an employer chooses to keep the fellow on salary during the fellowship, Nieman will offer all the same research and potential training support, but a stipend will not be provided.

Potential newsroom training and project-related funding will be determined on a case-by-case basis. To be considered for these opportunities, applicants should prepare a brief overview of the requested training and/or a budget outlining project-related funding needs. (Training could include a spectrum of journalistic skills, from data mining to narrative writing.)

Applicants for this fellowship must be approved for work in the U.S.

Although this year’s visiting fellowships are targeted toward public health and racial justice, it might be helpful to read about some previous visiting fellows at Nieman and how they crafted project work at Harvard to advance journalism.

If you have questions, please contact Nieman fellowship administrator Nicole Arias at

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. In addition to its fellowship program, the foundation’s other initiatives include Nieman Reports, a website and quarterly print 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.