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About the National Science-Health-Environment Reporting Fellowships

Understanding the fellowship

The National Science-Health-Environment Reporting Fellowships are intended to support early-career journalists who are pursuing – or have a strong interest in pursuing – careers reporting on science, health or environmental issues (or all three).

The program is primarily aimed at journalists in their first decade of professional work, who are interested in boosting their ability and confidence to tackle some of the most important stories of the 21st century.

The fellowship is designed to enable fellows to maintain their regular employment while attending concentrated training opportunities across the country, many of which will lead to stories for their employer or clients. Fellowship leaders and mentors will provide support and guidance through seminars, calls and e-mail consultations.

Curriculum will include basic science, interpreting medical studies, analyzing data, explaining evidence-based decisions, understanding climate science and more.

The program hopes to provide essential on-the-job training that might otherwise take years to accumulate.

Expectations

Candidates should be early-career, U.S.-based working journalists – either staff or freelance – with at least two years of professional experience.

Fellows will be expected to attend a handful of training events during the program year. Program leaders will decide on whether events will take place in person or virtually based on the latest public health considerations, with fellows’ safety always top of mind.

Each employer (or, for a freelancer, a news outlet that is a regular client) will be asked to provide a letter of recommendation for the applicant. Employers are also asked to pledge their support for the fellows’ participation in all the training events.

Board members and staffers of the partner organizations are not eligible to apply.

CASW, AHCJ and SEJ are fully committed to diversity and inclusion in their memberships, training programs and the larger journalism field. We welcome applicants who support that commitment.

What's covered

The fellowship provides:

  • Customized seminar and workshop trips, including food, lodging and travel within the United States;

  • A year’s membership (new or extended) in AHCJ, SEJ and NASW, assuming membership qualifications are met;

  • Registration and travel support to your choice of an annual conference produced by AHCJ, SEJ or CASW/NASW;

  • Registration to any virtual events held during the program year by AHCJ, SEJ or CASW;

  • Mentoring opportunities with a senior journalist in a topic area of choice;

  • Private online site for fellows to refer to training materials, share reporting efforts and network with one another;

  • For freelancers, a project support stipend of $2,000 for successfully completing the program.

Anticipated schedule

Tentative dates and sites (including whether in-person or virtual), depending upon public health recommendations:

  • Kick-off seminar, site TBD, July 15-16

  • Reporting boot camp, Columbia, Mo., Aug. 15-19

  • Briefings at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Dec. 5-7

  • Exclusive webinar, virtual, February 2022

  • Briefings at U.S. environmental labs, site TBD, June 2022

Plus, at least one of these conferences:

  • Health Journalism 2021, Austin, Oct. 28-31

  • ScienceWriters2021, Colorado, Oct. 8-11

  • SEJ2022, Houston, Mar. 29-April 3

Application checklist

  • Cover letter introducing yourself, your journalism background, efforts at career development and explaining why you are seeking the fellowship.

  • A current resume or CV.

  • A letter of recommendation from your current employer that addresses the benefits of the fellowship to you and the news organization’s audience as well as the employer’s commitment to support your full participation in the fellowship. Freelance applicants should submit a letter of recommendation from a regular client or assigning editor who can speak to the value you would derive from participating.

  • Two sample news or feature stories published or aired during the past 12 months.

The application deadline is May 17 at 6 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. CT, 3 p.m. PT.

Questions? Contact Susan Cunningham at susan@healthjournalism.org or 573-882-2203.