Nieman Foundation at Harvard
Holding algorithms (and the people behind them) accountable is still tricky, but doable
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Nov. 21, 2011, 2 p.m.

Deadline approaching for international journalists to apply for a Nieman Fellowship

American applicants have until January 31, but non-U.S. journalists need to get their application in by December 1.

It’s fall here in Cambridge, which means it’s time again for journalists from around the world to be thinking about applying for a Nieman Fellowship.

Niemans get to spend a year at Harvard, studying the subjects of their choice with the aim of making them better journalists at year’s end than they were at year’s start. Our next class of fellows, who’ll arrive in Cambridge next August and stay through May 2013, will be our 75th.

Each Nieman class numbers between 20 and 30, roughly evenly split between American and international journalists. And — important note here — the deadline for international journalists to apply has moved up this year, to December 1. (It had been December 15 for some years. For Americans, the deadline is January 31.)

There’s lots of information about the fellowships over at the main Nieman website, including details on eligibility, our specialized fellowships, and other details like how much we pay you, how your family can join the experience, and Nieman activities. You can read about the current class of fellows to get an idea who’s preceded you.

You can apply entirely online — you’ll have to write a couple brief essays about what you’re like to accomplish, and we’ll need letters of recommendation and examples of your work. But it’s not an inordinately time-consuming process — international journalists still have plenty of time between now and Dec. 1 to get it done.

Three quick notes:

  • While it’s been a long time since we had an age requirement, nonetheless, we used to describe the Nieman Fellowship as a “midcareer” fellowship. That’s led some people to think they were too old or too young to apply. That was never really the case — when I was a fellow a few years back, our ages ranged from 29 to 55 — but to clarify matters, we’ve stopped using the word “midcareer.” Whether you’re 24, 64, or somewhere in between, if you can show that you’d benefit — and journalism would benefit — from you spending a year studying at Harvard, we’d welcome your application.
  • For international applicants, we have specific fellowships reserved in alternating years for journalists from specific countries — namely, for Canadians and South Koreans. Some of those are not offered every year, and that’s led some Canadians and South Koreans to think they can’t apply in the off years. That’s not true: They can always apply for general fellowships. It’s just that there isn’t a special commitment in those years to having someone from their country in the class.
  • If you have specific questions about the application process — eligibility, deadlines, forms, and so on — the best person to email is John Breen (, the fellowship program administrator. I’m also happy to answer any questions about the fellowship experience or just about anything else (

Good luck!

POSTED     Nov. 21, 2011, 2 p.m.
Show comments  
Show tags
Join the 45,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Holding algorithms (and the people behind them) accountable is still tricky, but doable
“We were able to demystify this black box, this algorithm that had very scary connotations, and break it down into what ended up being a very simple linear model.”
Fill in the blanks: What’s still missing from the study of fake news? (A whole lot.)
A big new report from the Hewlett Foundation pulls together existing research on social media, political polarization, and disinformation to show where we still need to know more.
Google announces a $300M ‘Google News Initiative’ (though this isn’t about giving out grants directly to newsrooms, like it does in Europe)
Also: an easier subscription flow, $10 million for media literacy in U.S. high schools, fact-checking efforts in search around health issues, and more.