New Dart Fellowship Offers Training for Journalism Educators

UPDATE: The Dart Center Academic Fellowship guidelines are now available online.

No matter what the beat or medium, young journalists are almost certain to encounter human tragedy in the course of their work. But few student journalists are trained to recognize trauma and stress reactions in survivors, to make informed ethical choices about trauma news, or to deal with their own emotional reactions while on the job. With this in mind, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma has established a new Academic Fellowship Program.

The fellowship will take place at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City June 17 to 19. Open to college and university journalism faculty and advisers to student media, the program is designed to prepare educators to teach effective trauma journalism — the art of newsgathering, storytelling and self-care in the midst of profound human tragedy and its aftermath.

"I'm thrilled about this program," said Dr. Margaret Spratt, director of Dart Center West, based at the University of Washington Department of Communication.  "For more than a decade, the Ochberg Fellowships have offered intensive training for working journalists. Now we can offer a similar experience to journalism educators and continue the process of building a community of trauma specialists on university and college campuses."

The fellowship, with support from the Center for Global Studies at the Henry M. Jackson School for International Studies at the University of Washington, will provide up to 12 college and university journalism educators with three days of seminars, training and discussion, as well as financial support for innovative curriculum development. The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma will provide airfare and hotel in New York City for each fellow. In addition, up to $500 in post-seminar support will be provided each fellow to design and implement educational projects.

The fellowship programs will cover:

  • The science of trauma:  Fellows will hear the latest on brain science and trauma reactions; how best to work with to people who have experienced traumatic events; and how to incorporate trauma science into the journalism curriculum.
  • Newsgathering in the midst of trauma: Fellows will discuss and practice effective and sensitive newsgathering techniques, particularly interviewing and ethical decision-making, and share and review exercises and strategies to use when teaching reporting skills.
  • Storytelling through words and images:  Experienced journalists and journalism educators will discuss how to build informative, compelling narratives about trauma that offer vital information to individuals and communities in crisis.
  • When tragedy affects student journalists: Student journalists routinely cover tragic stories on campus, often about people they know. Fellows will discuss how to prepare students to to make good personal and professional decisions while doing their job.

Deadline for the program is March 26. An application form and additional information will be posted on the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma website by March 1.

In the meantime, Spratt said, interested educators should update their resumes or CVs, assemble examples of their work – syllabi or writing samples — and begin crafting a letter of interest, describing how and why this fellowship is relevant to your work, identifying two issues on teaching trauma coverage that are of interest to you and discussing a challenge you have encountered while teaching journalism or advising student journalists. A letter of support from your department will also be required.

The Academic Fellowship Program is open to college and university journalism faculty. Up to 10 fellowships are available to applicants working in North American. There are two additional places, one for candidates working in Europe and another for those in Australasia. Candidates from those two regions should contact Dart Centre Australasia and Dart Centre Europe respectively.

Any further questions? Contact Meg Spratt by email or by phone at (206) 616-3223.