The Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowships at Harvard offer short-term research opportunities to individuals interested in working on special projects designed to advance journalism. Since this initiative’s inception in 2012, the Nieman Foundation has awarded 42 visiting fellowships ranging between two and twelve weeks. Candidates need not be practicing journalists, but must demonstrate the ways in which their work at Harvard and the Nieman Foundation may improve the prospects for journalism’s future.
Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows utilize the extensive resources at Harvard and MIT, including local scholars, research centers and libraries, to achieve concrete results, either developing a project that can be completed during the time spent at Harvard or as part of a larger undertaking that continues after the fellowship period ends. Additionally, fellows are expected to share their progress and findings either through publication on one of Nieman’s in-house websites—Nieman Reports, Nieman Journalism Lab, and Nieman Storyboard—or in another medium or format better suited to the project.
- The proposed project must have the potential to advance journalism. This may be related to research, programming, design, financial strategies or another topic.
- Those who should consider applying include journalists, publishers, technologists, entrepreneurs, programmers, designers, media analysts, academics and others who want to make an impact. There is no age limit or academic prerequisites, and a college degree is not required. Both U.S. and international applicants are invited to apply.
- Candidates must be available to be in residence in Cambridge, Mass., for the duration of the fellowship.
- Prospective fellows must speak and read English fluently and have a command of written English.
Visiting fellowships take place during the calendar rather than the academic year. Applicants list their preferred start date, the number of weeks requested (no more than 12), and any flexibility regarding dates in the online application. The Nieman Foundation will work with selected fellows to determine a start date. The duration of the fellowship awarded may be shorter than the number of weeks requested. Most fellowships are between four and eight weeks.
For fellows not supported by an employer during the fellowship, a stipend of $1,350 per week will be provided. If an employer keeps the fellow on salary during the fellowship because the project benefits the organization, a fellowship stipend will not be provided.
If a fellow does not reside in the Boston area or otherwise have accommodations, free use of a furnished one-bedroom apartment will be available for the length of the fellowship.
Advice to Candidates
- A focused inquiry is better than a broad one. The time on campus speeds by, so having clear goals is essential.
- The visiting fellowship is best suited to individuals who are able to work independently. The experience is akin to an independent reporting assignment. Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows set about their self-determined project work as a full-time job, with no constraints on their time. This is unlike our academic-year fellowship program, which is an experience structured around two semesters of course auditing and participation in Nieman programming.
- Preparation is vital to a successful fellowship. Fellows are expected to start their project on day one, having already completed preliminary research, identified and contacted sources at Harvard and elsewhere, and scheduled appointments with those people.
- Be sure to consider whether your needs are better met by our longer Nieman Fellowship, geared toward broader inquiry, leadership growth and professional development.
We are currently accepting submissions for the 2019 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowships. The application requires biographical information, a résumé or curriculum vitae, contact information for three professional references, and a 600-word project proposal—an essay that describes the project you plan to pursue as a visiting fellow at Harvard.
The guiding questions to answer within the essay are: Which particular Harvard or local resources will be especially important and useful? How, specifically, will you use your fellowship time to advance the project? What will be the end product or result of your fellowship? How will your work benefit journalism?
The deadline to apply is Sept. 28, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).
The application process involves creating an account with SlideRoom, using your preferred email address. If you already have a SlideRoom account, simply log in to proceed. You may save your information and return as many times as you like prior to completing the application. Immediately after submitting the application, you will receive a confirmation email from SlideRoom with the subject line “Thank you for using SlideRoom!”
All applicants will be notified of their status by Nov. 19, 2018, and Skype calls will be scheduled with those advancing to the interview stage. We expect to make our selection of fellows by Dec. 14, 2018. The press release announcing the 2019 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows will be posted in January 2019.
We are interested in any project that has the potential to advance journalism. Previous projects have ranged from how podcasts can help strengthen the position of public radio stations to how machine learning can help news organizations organize archival material to the impact of smartwatches and wearable devices on journalism.
Read the following project snapshots for examples of how previous fellows have used their time on campus.