Wallace House, University of Michigan announce Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship

June 11, 2020
Contact: Melissa Riley rileyml@umich.edu,
Laura Lessnau llessnau@umich.edu

Icons depicting the fellowship. Image credit: Knight-Wallace FellowshipsEach year, the Knight-Wallace Fellowships at the University of Michigan summon journalists from around the world to think boldly about their craft and enhance their skills to meet the needs of a changing industry.

Alongside the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, lingering inequality and social strife are fueling calls for systemic change. In response, Wallace House is redirecting its resources to fuel ambitious journalism on these converging forces and efforts toward a reimagined world.

Wallace House will turn the Knight-Wallace Fellowship model outward for the 2020-21 academic year to fund long-term reporting projects examining momentous challenges and responses in this time of converging crises. They’ll select a cohort of 10 accomplished journalists with different backgrounds and experience for a working fellowship to report on our most pressing issues, from social shifts precipitated by the pandemic to persistent social justice issues surrounding race, ethnicity and inequality.

The Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship will take the place of the traditional, residential Knight-Wallace Fellowship for the 2020-21 academic year in response to continued uncertainty about close gathering and in-person instruction. Selected fellows will not be required to leave their newsrooms or places of work. But this adapted fellowship will maintain the program’s multidisciplinary approach and cohort-based philosophy.

The Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship will provide a $70,000 stipend over eight months plus $10,000 to support supplemental costs for reporting projects to be produced during the period of the fellowship. Fellows will receive professional development and digital seminars with researchers and experts tackling challenges across a range of fields and disciplines. They also will have remote access to research and resources at U-M and regular opportunities for engagement with U-M faculty and students.

The reporting fellowship is designed to encourage ambitious reporting projects that allow reporters to step back from breaking and incremental coverage. As the world grapples with huge questions and complex solutions, it needs journalists to investigate, scrutinize, analyze and explain the process and outcomes. This fellowship is not intended for daily reporting that would get done without the fellowship resources.
When in-person gathering becomes possible and a safe experience for fellows can be assured, Wallace House will host one-week Fellowship Cohort sessions in Ann Arbor and a final symposium on the U-M campus, highlighting the reporting work produced during the fellowship.

Focus on in-depth reporting

Published or produced work is a requirement of the fellowship. Applicants must submit a detailed reporting proposal related to the seismic challenges we now face. The output should match the proposed project and form of journalism. For instance, a documentary filmmaker might complete one film during the period of the fellowship; a long-form magazine writer might produce one or two published pieces; a community-based enterprise reporter might produce a project that appears weekly or monthly.

Areas of focus can include but are not limited to science and medicine, the economy, law and justice, business, race and ethnicity, education, technology, the environment, and entertainment and recreation. Areas of coverage can be local, national or global.

The fellowship is not intended to support daily beat reporting that would be produced regardless of fellowship support. It is also not intended for book writing.

All work produced during the fellowship will be owned by the media organization for which it is produced but will carry an agreed-upon acknowledgement of support by the Knight-Wallace Fellowships for Journalists at U-M.
The program is open to staff, freelance and contract journalists. All applicants must have at least five years of reporting experience and be either a U.S. resident or hold a U.S. passport.
Applications are available through the online portal and must be submitted by July 7. Reporting Fellowship offers will be extended on July 31.

For more information on the fellowship and how to apply, Wallace House director Lynette Clemetson and associate director Robert Yoon will host a Q&A webinar at 12:30 p.m. June 19. Interested applicants are encouraged to join the call and ask questions. Newsroom editors who would like to know more about this opportunity for reporters on their team are also invited to join.


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