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How to Apply for the California Fellowship

Fellowship  Schedule: February 23-27, 2014

Deadline to Apply: 5 p.m.  November 15, 2013

The following information applies only to applicants for the 2014 California Health Journalism Fellowship. Please read each section carefully.

Why Participate: You will gain confidence, skills, sources, and new storytelling approaches on the circumstances that shape the health of residents of your community.  

How to Apply: Applicants must join ReportingonHealth and post a profile and photo. The actual application is online; click on online application to access. (Choose California Health Journalism Fellowship as the program and 2014 as the year.) As part of the application package, candidates must submit:

  • A completed application form
  • A personal statement
  • A Fellowship project proposal
  • Three samples of professional work
  • A current resumé
  • A letter of reference from your assigning editor (or from another editor who knows your work well if you haven't worked with your assigning editor before_
  • An Editor's Checklist signed by an assigning editor and confirming the media outlet's intent to publish or broadcast the Fellowship project

Personal Statement (Including Project Proposal)

In no more than 500 words, please describe your health reporting experience. Tell us about the types of health care stories you currently cover (or would like to cover) and why you are interested in attending the Fellowship sessions. Include a description of your publication, broadcast outlet, or website, including the size, nature, and geographic reach of its audience, and how it's measured. (For web-only publications and print or broadcast outlets with websites, we require Google analytics.)

In 500 to 750 words, summarize  a major domestic health reporting project that you propose to pursue as part of the Fellowship. We are looking for project descriptions that are in-depth and indicate that the applicant has already done some preliminary research. In your description, summarize likely themes, multimedia components, and any social media and audience/community engagement strategies you anticipate, such as community forums. Your proposal should be well researched and should demonstrate that you have done some deep thinking about the relevance of the topic to your community.  (If your media outlet does not publish or broadcast major projects, you may instead propose three discrete health stories for one or more outlets.)  

Three Samples of Your Work: Submit three samples of your best work. (For work that has only appeared online, please provide working URLs, as well as Word documents or PDFs of the published stories.) Broadcasters should submit links to working URLs of their online stories or CDs/DVDs. If you are applying as an editor, submit work that you supervised and edited, along with an explanation of your role in shaping the content. If you write in a language other than English or Spanish, we prefer to receive translations of your work. If that is not possible, send a comprehensive two-paragraph summary in English of each story. 

Resumé: Please include a current resumé.

Letter of Reference: Please supply a letter of reference from your assigning editor, producer, or news director that discusses your abilities and potential as a journalist in detail. The letter should also confirm the following:

  • That you have discussed your proposed stories with your supervisor or assigning editor
  • That the news organization expects to publish or air your stories, assuming they meet its standards
  • That your employer will permit you to attend all Fellowship sessions (disregard if you're a freelancer)

Editor/Story Checklist (download pdf): Download it, complete it, get your assigning editor's signature on it, and scan it into your computer to submit with your online application or FAX it to us at (877) 413-3873. Both freelance and employed journalists must submit written confirmation of a news organization's commitment to publish or air the work resulting from the Fellowship, assuming the work meets the outlet's standards.

How We Select Fellows:

When choosing Fellows, we consider each candidate's personal and professional accomplishments and potential, as well as the potential contribution of his or her proposed stories or project on the public's understanding of health issues. We value diversity in both our Fellows and their media outlets. We encourage applications from candidates who serve non-English speaking audiences, although our seminars are conducted in English, so Fellows must be fluent in English. Preference is given to projects that focus on underserved populations. Journalists at mainstream and ethnic publications who propose a collaborative project will be given priority consideration. If you write or broadcast for a mainstream media outlet and your proposed project deals with health issues that affect an ethnic community, we strongly suggest that you arrange co-publication or co-broadcast in an ethnic media outlet as well. 

The Fellowship program will only review complete applications submitted by the deadline.

Fellowship Terms:

All Fellows are expected to:

  • Attend all required workshops.
  • Participate in a "community of Fellows" during workshop sessions
  • Treat other Fellows' works-in-progress as confidential
  • Join and become active in our online community
  • Within six months of the Fellowship's final session, complete  a major reporting project on a domestic health issue (or three substantive articles on health issues). Hunt grantees may take up to a year to complete their projects.      
  • Disseminate information from the seminars to colleagues
  • Serve as a mentor and resource to our program as we reach out to other journalists
  • Write at least two posts for Center for Health Journalism Digital about your Fellowship project -- an initial blog post introducing your planned project and a "Lessons from the Field" essay after it has been published or broadcast.

Click here for the link to our online application. Be sure to choose California Health Journalism Fellowship as the program and 2014 as the year.

For More Information: In advance of your application, we strongly encourage discussions on possible Fellowship projects and on the program itself. To arrange to talk to us, please email Martha Shirk at

Get updates on our Fellowships and follow our Fellows' work by 


Got a great idea for a reporting project on the health of underserved communities in California or on the performance of the state's health and social safety nets?  We're offering reporting grants of $2,000 to $10,000, plus six months of mentoring, to up to eight individual journalists, newsrooms or cross-newsroom collaboratives.  Deadline to apply:  September 20.


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