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Oct. 28, 2009, 10 a.m.

Nieman Fellowship application season rapidly approaching

The leaves are turning and there’s a chill in the air, which can only mean one thing: It’s time to think about applying for a Nieman Fellowship here at Harvard.

For 70-plus years, the Nieman has given accomplished mid-career journalists the chance to step away from their work and spend a year studying at Harvard. Niemans can take classes in any branch of the university (or at MIT), learning from all the disembodied brains around here, not to mention their fellow Fellows. Some use the year to get a rich academic grounding in the issues they cover as journalists; others use it to explore a new area of interest. As a member of the Nieman Fellow Class of ’08, I can tell you: It’s a pretty great deal.

Did I mention we pay you? We do. And your husband/wife/significant other gets to come along and take classes, too. Plus, if you’re interested, you get to work with us here at the Nieman Journalism Lab.

The fellowship class is half U.S. citizens and half journalists from around the globe. While for many years the class was made up primarily of newspaper reporters, that’s changed; along with newsprint types, we now see a mix of freelancers, magazine writers, documentary filmmakers, TV and radio producers, online journalists, and more. I’d love to see some great non-traditional applicants in the pool this year — brilliant bloggers are very much eligible.

You’ve still got some time to get your applications together; the deadline for international applicants is Dec. 15, and for Americans it’s Jan. 31. But it’s never too soon to start thinking about what you’d do with a year in Cambridge, or how you’d like to convince us we should give you one. This year, for the first time, you can apply completely online, so you can start working on your application today and sharpen it up in your spare minutes over the next couple months. Trust me: It’s worth the effort.

Joshua Benton is the senior writer and former director of Nieman Lab. You can reach him via email (joshua_benton@harvard.edu) or Twitter DM (@jbenton).
POSTED     Oct. 28, 2009, 10 a.m.
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