Reporting Fellowships for Institute Participants

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The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma is offering fellowships to support eight journalism projects undertaken by selected participants in the reporting institute on gun violence held February 10-11, 2017 in Chicago.

The reporting fellowships will carry awards ranging from $8,000-$12,000 to support individual reporting projects or collaborations that pool together the resources of more than one individual and/or news organization. Fellowships will be awarded to reporters representing one or more news outlets or freelance journalists with a strong track record of publication or broadcast.

In addition to supplying funds, the Dart Center will offer ongoing guidance and editorial support throughout the reporting and publication process to help fellowship projects succeed with maximum impact.

Applications will be evaluated on the extent to which proposals reflect the vision, capacity, and skills needed to generate compelling stories that will broaden and deepen public understanding of and and solutions to gun violence.

Permissible use of funds include: compensation for otherwise unremunerated time (for freelance journalists or full-time reporters taking a leave from staff duties to undertake the project); reporting and research expenses such as travel, accommodations, meals; reporting or technical support (for example computer assisted reporting; development of multimedia elements or other expenses necessary to successfully undertake the project.)

Fellowship applications will be reviewed by staff and advisors of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, Columbia Journalism School, the Joyce Foundation and the New Venture Fund. The committee’s selection criteria include but are not limited to:

The Project
  • Does the project focus on an important, underreported aspect of gun violence in the Midwest;
  • Will the project be sufficiently compelling and original in its topic or approach to engage audiences?
  • What is the potential local, regional or national significance of the project?
  • Does the project showcase actual or potential solutions to gun violence?
  • Does the project have the editorial backing of the participating journalists’ employers, or for freelancers commitment from established publications/outlets in regional or national markets?
  • Is the project journalistically viable within the next 9-12 months?
  • Does the budget realistically reflect likely costs of the project?
  • Does the project include a distribution and audience engagement strategy?
The Applicant
  • Does the applicant demonstrate the professional skills and experience needed to accomplish the project in a timely and cost-effective manner?
  • Do letters of support and recommendation confirm  the applicant’s journalistic capacity, ability to find and tell stories, and the likely success of completing the project?
Application Information

Completed applications must be received by 5:00 PM EST Monday, April 17, 2017.

Please submit the following:

1.   Completed online application form.

2.   A resume or CV, which includes a list of notable and/or relevant published or broadcast work.

3.   A project memo of up to 1,000 words including:

  • A synopsis of the project that reflects background research and reporting, and a description of the anticipated local, regional or national impact of the project;
  • A brief autobiographical explanation of why you are well-positioned to tell this particular story or set of stories;
  • A detailed description that outlines your approach to the issue, your anticipated final products (the number and tentative themes of the stories you plan to write, photograph, film, record or produce);
  • One or more committed or substantively interested outlets (in any medium) for publication or broadcast (see below);
  • A description of the type of assistance the project may require from the Dart Center;
  • A budget reflecting the project expenses, including your stipend, costs related to travel, supplies, equipment, research support and distribution; and
  • A timeline that reflects the story treatment and products you expect to produce. (Note: Projects must be completed by March 1, 2018.)

4.   A letter of support from your news organization (if on staff) or a letter of interest from a prospective outlet (if freelance).

Additional Information

Applicants will be notified of a decision on May 5, 2017. Fellowship start dates may be anytime after June 1, 2017. Projects must be completed by March 1, 2018.

Fellows’ publishers hold editorial and legal responsibility for final published work.

The Dart Center will be engaged periodically with Fellows throughout the duration of their projects, from inception through publication. The Dart Center will make available a specialist project coach to support fellows through reporting.

Fellows will be expected to produce an interim and final report describing the stage of their project, reporting process and challenges, and progress.

Fellowship products will be cross-published on the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma website at the Dart Center’s discretion.

Fellowship winners will also be expected to participate in bi-monthly conference calls with the fellows group and produce a reporting tip sheet drawing on lessons learned from their projects to contribute to an online resource library freely available through the Dart Center.

At the conclusion of the fellowship term in early 2018, fellowship winners will be expected to participate in a one-day meeting in Chicago to present their work, discuss lessons learned, and consider new directions and/or platforms for their projects.

NOTE: Fellowships are only open to journalists who took part in the February 10-11, 2017 Dart Center reporting institute in Chicago.