Call for Applications: 2022 Ochberg Fellowship

The Ochberg Fellowship is the Dart Center's flagship program for senior and mid-career journalists who wish to deepen their knowledge of emotional trauma and psychological injury, and improve reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy. This year's fellowship will be held July 22-28 at Columbia University in New York City. Applications due February 22, 2022 at 11:59pm EST.

Guidelines

After a two-year hiatus we are pleased to bring back the Dart Center Ochberg Fellowship, a unique seminar program for senior and mid-career journalists who wish to deepen their knowledge of emotional trauma and psychological injury, and improve reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy.

Reporting responsibly and credibly on traumatic events — on street crime and family violence, natural disasters and accidents, war and genocide, pandemic and social upheaval — is a major challenge. Since 1999 the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has brought together outstanding journalists from around the world to explore critical issues around news coverage of violence, trauma and tragedy.

Fellows attend an intensive weeklong program of seminars held at Columbia University in New York City. Program activities include briefings by prominent interdisciplinary experts in the trauma and mental health fields; conversations with journalist colleagues on issues of ethics, craft and practice, and a variety of other opportunities for intellectual engagement and peer learning.

The Fellowship is led by a core faculty of prominent journalists and mental health professionals from the Dart Center, along with visiting faculty. Past faculty have included:

  • Judith Lewis Herman, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and author of Trauma and Recovery.

  • Jonathan Shay, M.D. Ph.D., Clinical Psychiatrist, MacArthur Fellow and author of Achilles in Vietnam and Odysseus in America.

  • Jelani Cobb, Ph.D., Professor of Journalism, Columbia Journalism School, and Staff Writer, The New Yorker
  • Chicago “violence interrupter” Eddie Bocanegra with Alex Kotlowitz, producer of the documentary film “The Interrupters” and author, There Are No Children Here.

  • Karestan Koenen, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

  • Jessica Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill and Denial: A Memoir of Terror

  • Steven Southwick, M.D., Glenn H. Greenberg Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine and co-author, Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life's Greatest Challenges

The Fellowship was established in 1999 by the Dart Center in partnership with the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. The fellowship is named in honor of Frank Ochberg, M.D., a pioneer in the study of trauma. The Ochberg Fellowship covers roundtrip travel, lodging, meals and expenses directly related to participation such as travel insurance. The program does not cover health insurance, additional nights of lodging beyond the Fellowship's duration or ground transportation in fellows’ home cities.

The Fellowship program will be held July 22-28, 2022 at Columbia University in New York City. We have every intention of holding the program in-person; however public health conditions will determine whether this is possible. In the event that public health conditions require us to cancel the program, all selected fellows for 2022 will be deferred to 2023.

ELIGIBILITY

The Ochberg Fellowships are open to outstanding journalists from any part of the world (with at least five years of professional journalism experience) working across all media. Past Fellows have ranged from small-town and regional general-assignment and crime reporters to war photographers and foreign correspondents for international news organizations. Both staff journalists and freelancers are welcome to apply. Applicants’ work must demonstrate journalistic excellence and a strong track record of covering trauma and its impact on individuals, families or communities.

The Fellowship is open to print, broadcast and digital reporters, photographers, editors and producers with at least five years of professional journalism experience. Approximately half of the Fellows will be based in North America, with the balance drawn from Central and South America, Europe, the Asia Pacific region, Africa and the Middle East.

All fellowship seminars are conducted in English. Fellows must be fluent in spoken English to participate in the program.

 

APPLICATION DEADLINE AND DETAILS

The application deadline is February 22, 2022 at 11:59pm EST. Apply using this form.

The Fellowship program will be held July 22-28, 2022, at Columbia University in New York City. If public health conditions require us to cancel the program, all fellows selected for 2022 will be deferred to 2023.

 

SELECTION CRITERIA

Applications are reviewed by a judging committee comprised of Dart Center staff, Fellowship faculty and past Fellows. Selection is not based on any single factor. Judges' consider a variety of factors, with an emphasis on whether applicants:

  • Demonstrate consistent and thoughtful journalistic engagement with issues of violence, conflict, tragedy and their aftermath;

  • Have demonstrated journalistic excellence and leadership;

  • Will likely benefit personally and professionally from the Fellowship experience and contribute meaningfully to the program.

Other considerations may include geographic and other diversity, and overall group composition.

The judging committee will review applications and select 12 fellows for 2022. Selected fellows will be notified by email.

 

ALUMNI Testimonials

Alumni of the program describe their Ochberg Fellowship experiences: 

"After years of covering narco-violence as an editor in Mexico and after being attacked by drug cartels for our coverage, I did not understand the concept of trauma and its effects until I participated in the Ochberg fellowship. As I began training other journalists on security issues, understanding trauma allowed me to develop psychological care as a key component of any safety protocol. The fellowship was one of the most enriching and stimulating experiences of my career. It was a week that challenged our intellects and liberated our emotions beyond anything I had ever experienced." — Javier Garza, 2013 fellow

"The fellowship really helped me change the way I approach all my storytelling and also gave me access to a whole new global tribe of people who care about the world and the journalism that we do. It's a gamechanger." — Dhruti Shah, 2015 fellow

"The Dart Center introduced me to a number of professionals and colleagues who led me to rethink the way I was interviewing and approaching trauma survivors, and how I was writing and editing news stories related to these issues. I learned new interviewing techniques and different approaches to avoid re-victimizing people, which changed completely the narrative I was using. When my team had to go out in pursuit of testimonies after the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, I ensured that they were aware of them in order to handle one of the most difficult pieces of coverage in the island's history." — Maria Arce, 2012 fellow

A list of all Fellows since 1999 can be found here. 

 

QUESTIONS

Please direct any queries to [email protected].