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Oct. 22, 2012, 9 a.m.

Have an idea to help improve journalism? Apply for a new Nieman visiting fellowship

It’s a chance to come work on a journalism-related project at Harvard, but for a shorter period of time than our traditional Nieman Fellowships.

For decades, journalists have been coming to Harvard for a year of study and research. The latest bunch make up the 75th class of Nieman Fellows, who arrived in late August and will be here through May.

But as enduring as the traditional Nieman Fellowship has been and continues to be, a fellowship that lasts an entire academic year won’t work for everyone who’d benefit from it.

Some have a defined, focused project they want to work on that doesn’t need to line up with a university’s academic calendar.

And some might not be working journalists at all — at least not as the term’s been traditionally defined. They might be publishers, academics, developers, or others who are dedicated to improving journalism whether or not they directly produce it.

So I’m very happy that the Nieman Foundation just announced the creation of a new, project-based, shorter-term kind of fellowship. We’re calling it a visiting fellowship, and you can read all about it on the main Nieman website.

A few of the highlights:

  • We’ll offer up to three of these visiting fellowships per year, and both American and international applicants are welcome.
  • The length of the fellowship could span from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the proposed project.
  • While we’re accepting applications from non-journalists, journalists are of course very much welcome to apply, too.
  • You can propose something self-contained that you expect to complete in your time at Harvard, or you can propose working on piece of a broader project.
  • You can choose to work with us here at Nieman Lab, or with any of the other projects housed here at the Nieman Foundation.
  • The deadline for applying is November 19 — that’s four weeks from this writing. The application is quite brief — mostly just 500 words on what you’d accomplish as a visiting fellow.

When Agnes Wahl Nieman died in 1937, she left relatively few instructions on how the money she’d given to Harvard should be spent. But she did say its purpose should be to “promote and elevate the standards of journalism.” More than ever, that’s the work of a very broad group of people, and we’re hoping that the visiting fellowships can let us reach more of those people. If you’ve got a great idea that can help advance journalism, I hope you’ll apply.

POSTED     Oct. 22, 2012, 9 a.m.
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