Each year, the Nieman Foundation awards paid fellowships to up to 24 journalists working in print, broadcast, digital and audiovisual media. The Foundation selects up to 12 U.S. citizens and 12 international journalists for full its academic-year Nieman Fellowships. All prospective fellows must speak, read and write English fluently. Those selected for the program are required to spend two full semesters at Harvard auditing classes, participating in Nieman events and collaborating with peers. Nieman Fellows are also able to audit classes at other local universities including MIT and Tufts.
Journalists and other professionals working in positions that support journalism, such as the business or technology departments of news companies, are welcome to apply for one of the foundation’s short-term Visiting Fellowships.
All applicants for academic-year Nieman Fellowships, including freelancers, must be working journalists with at least five years of full-time media experience. For this program, journalism-related work completed as a university student does not count as professional experience. Professionals who work in public relations or in a position whose primary focus is not the media are not eligible to apply.
Two years prior to applying, an applicant should not have participated in a fellowship lasting four months or longer. Journalists interested in the Nieman Fellowships should submit an application and supplementary materials. There are no age limits or academic prerequisites, and possession a college degree is not a criterion.
Nieman Fellows receive a stipend of $70,000 paid over a nine-month period to cover living costs. The Nieman Foundation also provides housing, childcare, and health insurance allowances based on the number and ages of family members. The Foundation additionally covers the cost of attending Harvard classes for fellows and their affiliates. Affiliates are the partners and spouses of fellows. They enjoy many of the same privileges as fellows and may attend classes, use Harvard libraries and other facilities, and are welcome to participate in almost all Nieman activities. In addition to a monthly stipend, fellows receive modest housing, childcare and health insurance allowances, depending on the size of their families.
Fellows choose their own course of study at Harvard and are required to complete course work in one class each semester. They audit other courses at Harvard College and in graduate school classrooms throughout the university as well as classes at the MIT Center for Civic Media, the MIT Media Lab and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
During their time at Harvard, Nieman Fellows are to attend seminars, shop talks, master classes and journalism conferences designed to strengthen their professional skills and leadership capabilities, with which they can help to fortify the news industry itself.
After candidates are chosen, they must agree in writing to honor all leave stipulations made with their employers; to refrain from professional work during the fellowship year, except as approved by the Nieman curator; and to complete work in a minimum of one course per semester and honor commitments made to faculty as a condition of auditing a class. Fellows also must remain in residence in the Cambridge area while classes are in session and participate in all Nieman Foundation programs.
Funds from the original Nieman bequest are restricted to U.S. citizens, International Nieman Fellows are therefore encouraged to work with Nieman staff to find financial support from sources outside the Nieman Foundation. Obtaining outside funding is not a condition for being selected for a fellowship. Funds typically come from foundations and journalism organizations in the fellows’ home countries. The Nieman Foundation works with several international foundations that provide stipendiary support to citizens of certain nations or regions of the world. Recipients of short-term Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowships receive a stipend prorated for the length of their fellowships as well as free housing for the length of their stay at Harvard.
The deadlines for applications are:
- Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowships: Sept. 29, 2017
- International Fellowships: Dec. 1, 2017
- U.S. Fellowships: Jan. 31, 2018
U.S. and international candidates may also apply for the Nieman-Berkman Klein Fellowship in Journalism Innovation and the short-term Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowship. Citizens of Canada should follow specific instructions when applying in order to take advantage of special funding. Candidates with dual citizenship should contact the Nicole Arias for advice about whether to apply for a U.S. or international Nieman Fellowship.
Candidates for the Nieman-Berkman Klein Fellowship in Journalism Innovation are to 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.
Finalists who are citizens of countries other than the United States are interviewed via teleconferencing in February and notified in March. U.S. finalists come to Cambridge for interviews in late April and are notified immediately after the selection weekend. Applications can be completed here. Learn how to apply here.