Ochberg Fellowship Guidelines
The Dart Center Ochberg Fellowship is a unique seminar program for veteran 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 violence or traumatic events — on street crime and family violence, natural disasters and accidents, war and genocide — 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 exploring critical issues around news coverage of conflict, 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 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.
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. The program does not cover travel or health insurance, additional nights of lodging beyond the Fellowship's duration or ground transportation in fellows’ home cities.
The Ochberg Fellowships are open to outstanding journalists (with at least five years 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. Applicants’ work must demonstrate journalistic excellence and a strong track record of covering violence and its impact on individuals, families or communities.
Fellowships are open to print, broadcast and digital reporters, photographers, editors and producers with at least five years of professional journalism experience are eligible to apply. 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.
Applicants 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.