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Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowships at Harvard for Journalists 2017, USA

Publish Date: Jul 11, 2017

Deadline: Sep 29, 2017

Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowships

The Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowships at Harvard offer short-term research opportunities to individuals interested in working on special projects designed to advance journalism in some new way. 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. This may be related to research, programming, design, financial strategies or another topic. Both U.S. and international applicants are invited to apply.

In addition to working journalists, those who should consider applying include publishers, programmers, designers, media analysts, academics and others interested in enhancing quality, building new business models or designing programs to improve journalism. Project proposals may be completed during the time spent at Harvard or be part of a larger undertaking. All visiting fellows are expected to be in residence in Cambridge during their study and present their findings to the Nieman community at the end of their research period. There are no academic prerequisites, and a college degree is not required.


Successful applicants are invited to the Nieman Foundation for a period ranging from a few weeks to three months, depending on the scope of the project. Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows have access to the extensive resources at Harvard and throughout Cambridge, including local scholars, research centers and libraries. Successful applicants also have the opportunity to work with Nieman Fellows and the various projects housed at the Nieman Foundation, including Nieman Reports, Nieman Journalism Lab, and Nieman Storyboard.

Learn more about recent Visiting Fellows including Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopek, who used his time at Harvard to plan an epic seven-year reporting trip walking across the globe to trace the path of human migration, and Hong Qu, chief technology officer for Fusion, who spent time on campus developing his Keepr application to help journalists and other users better follow stories on Twitter. Keepr was put to the test in April 2013 during the Boston Marathon bombings when Hong used his algorithm identifying reliable information as events unfolded. Read Nieman curator Ann Marie Lipinski’s thoughts on the importance of the visiting fellowships: New Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows: Journalism Needs Everyone’s Help.

The application deadline for the 2018 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowships is Sept. 29, 2017. For questions about the application process, contact Nieman Fellowship program administrator Nicole Arias or call 617-495-2238.

How to Apply

Application requirements

All Nieman Fellowship applicants must complete an online application form. Candidates for full academic-year fellowships must submit the following information as part of their package: two essays; a professional profile and study plan; work samples and three letters of recommendation.

Candidates for the Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowship complete a streamlined application that requires only biographical information, a résumé and a project proposal.

Questions about the application process may be sent to fellowship program administrator Nicole Arias.

Application deadlines:

  • Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowships: Sept. 29, 2017
  • International Fellowships: Dec. 1, 2017
  • U.S. Fellowships: Jan. 31, 2018

Note that candidates for the Nieman-Berkman Klein Fellowship in Journalism Innovationshould complete either the international fellowship application or the U.S. fellowship application and indicate interest in being considered for a Nieman-Berkman Klein Fellowship in the appropriate section.


With the exception of Knight Visiting Fellowship applicants, all fellowship candidates must submit two essays: a personal statement and a proposal for study at Harvard. These essays are equally important parts of the application and selection committee members review them carefully. When writing, include examples from your life and work that demonstrate that you have a significant capacity for growth and leadership. We also want to know how a year at Harvard will help make you a better journalist. Please observe word limits.

Personal statement

The personal statement is an essay of 1,000 words or less that describes your journalistic experience, career plans and goals. What experiences in life and in journalism have shaped you? What personal and journalistic values and intellectual interests have influenced your decision to apply? What motivates your commitment to journalistic excellence? What are your aspirations for your life ahead in journalism? Why have you chosen this time for a transformative experience away from work?

Proposal for study at Harvard

The study proposal is an essay of 500 words or less that describes how you plan to spend a year at Harvard. What will you study during the fellowship year? What is the driving question or interest that will shape your year? It is not necessary to specify course titles, but please identify the resources at Harvard and in the Cambridge area that will serve your goals in journalism.

Candidates applying for a Nieman-Berkman Fellowship for Journalism Innovation should explain how their proposed projects or course of research could have impact on the broader world of journalism.

Project proposal for visiting fellowship candidates

The project proposal is an essay of 500 words or less that describes the project you plan to pursue as a visiting fellow at Harvard. How will your work benefit journalism? In what ways will you use your fellowship time to advance the project? Are there any specific Harvard or local resources that will be especially important and useful? As you prepare your proposal, it may be helpful for you to read about the many diverse projectsundertaken by our recent visiting fellows.


Send two summaries: a professional profile and a study plan.

Professional profile

Provide a short profile (no more than 100 words) that summarizes your professional career including your current position (work title and news organization, if appropriate); publications that you have written for and/or other news organizations where you have worked; journalism awards you have won; beats and issues that you cover; special interests, etc.

Study plan summary

Provide a brief summary (50 words) of your study plan.

Work Samples

Work samples should be submitted to the online application via file uploads or URL. You may also provide a summary page that describes your samples. If any work samples exist only as hard copies or surpass the application’s file-size capacity, then those specific work samples may be sent to the address below, where they will be added to materials you submit with the online application. Please do not send originals; submitted materials will not be returned.

Nieman Foundation for Journalism
2019 Fellowship Application
One Francis Avenue
Cambridge MA 02138-2009

Work Sample Specifications

  • We are most interested in your recent work. Most of your samples should have been published or broadcast in the year immediately prior to the completion of your application. One older sample may also be submitted.
  • Do not send complete newspapers or magazines, books, scrapbooks, unpublished manuscripts, works-in-progress, irreplaceable material, elaborate presentations (e.g. spiral bindings or report covers) or “creative” displays.
  • Please clearly date all your samples and do not send more than the requested number.
  • If your samples are not in English, please include a summary of their contents in English. Supporting materials must also be in English.
  • Nieman-Berkman Klein candidates who work for a news organization in a business, technology, or leadership capacity may omit the work samples portion of the application, but should attach other documentation that illustrates the work they do.

Print and Online Journalists

  • Writers: Upload four samples of published work, including publication dates, in individual PDFs.
  • Editors: Include a statement describing your job. (This is in addition to your two essays.) You may list URLs or include files of published work along with a description of your role in these samples. For published work, follow the instructions for writers above.
  • Photographers: Submit a portfolio with at least eight samples of your work. Image files up to 10MB each may be uploaded to the online application. If your samples cannot be uploaded or submitted via a URL, you may mail a CD, DVD, flash drive or non-returnable printed photos to the Nieman Foundation.

Broadcast Journalists

Work samples collectively should run no longer than 60 minutes. Include a written synopsis of each sample with a brief description of your involvement in each piece. Video files up to 500MB each and audio files up to 60MB each may be uploaded to the application, or instead provide a URL to your work online.

To submit a sample that cannot be uploaded to your online application or provided via a URL, you may mail a DVD, CD or flash drive to the Nieman Foundation.
If you have questions about what types of work samples are acceptable, contact fellowship program administrator Nicole Arias.

Letters of Recommendation

Three confidential letters of recommendation are required. These letters should indicate how your abilities and experience make you stand out as a fellowship candidate and should describe your qualifications, your potential for professional growth and leadership, and the impact a fellowship might have on your career in journalism.

Once an applicant completes the references section of the online application for each recommender, those individuals will receive an email with instructions to submit a letter of recommendation. Recommenders will be given the option to upload the letter as a PDF, type/paste the letter online, or send it via email or postal mail to the Nieman Foundation.

Recommendations should be written by:

  • Two professional associates familiar with your work who can comment on your journalistic abilities and potential for growth and leadership (e.g., current or former colleagues, mentors/advisors).
  • An immediate supervisor with an appraisal of your qualifications. (Freelancers: This may be someone who has recently worked with you in a supervisory capacity.)

Letters of recommendation not submitted using the online application should be mailed directly to the Nieman Foundation at the address below and postmarked by the following dates:

  • International applicants: Dec. 1, 2017
  • U.S. applicants: Jan. 31, 2018

Nieman Foundation for Journalism
Fellowship Application
One Francis Avenue
Cambridge MA 02138-2009

Knight Visiting Fellowship applicants are not required to supply letters of recommendation. Instead, contact information for three references must be provided.


For questions about the application process, contact Nieman Fellowship program administrator Nicole Arias or call 617-495-2238.

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