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Which Fellowship Is Right for Me?

Which Fellowship Is Right for Me?

The USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism offers several professional development opportunities for working journalists in the United States. Students and foreign-based journalists are not eligible, and we prefer that applicants have a minimum of three years of professional experience. Each year, we vary our offerings somewhat, so please check back frequently for updates. Note:  Projects for all of our Fellowships and grants must focus on the United States. This guide will help you decide which program is right for you. Note: All grants are taxable to the extent required by law. One third of the amount of all grants will be paid at the outset of the project, with the remaining two-thirds to be paid upon publication or broadcast no later than six months following the Fellowship sessions.

Center for Health Journalism California Fellowship

The 2020 California Fellowship will be held March 15-19, 2020 on the USC campus.  The application period has closed. Admission to this Fellowship is limited to journalists who are based in California or based elsewhere but have a confirmed assignment to report on a California health issue for a California-based media outlet or for a national outlet with a substantial California footprint. It provides five days of intensive programming on community health, health care and health policy topics, a $1,000 reporting grant and six months of mentoring by a seasoned journalist. (Up to two Fellows may receive grants of $3,500 for undertaking a substantive reporting project on the health, well-being or welfare of pregnant women or children 5 and under in Los Angeles County.) Stories must be published or broadcast within six months of the Fellowship sessions. In addition, up to five Fellows receive community engagement grants of up to $2,000, plus six months of specialized mentoring in engagement strategies. Print, broadcast, and online journalists are eligible to apply, and we strongly encourage applications for journalists with ethnic media outlets. About 20 Fellowships are awarded. 

Center for Health Journalism National Fellowship

The 2020 National Fellowship  will be held July 19-23 on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles. Admission to this Fellowship is highly competitive and attracts many qualified print, broadcast, and online journalists from across the country. Print, broadcast, and online journalists are eligible to apply, and we strongly encourage applications for journalists who contribute to ethnic media outlets. About 20 Fellowships are awarded. California journalists are eligible to apply, but face much steeper competition than for the California Fellowship. In addition to providing four and one-half days of intensive programming on vulnerable children youth and families and health disparities. The National Fellowship offers reporting stipends of $2,000-$10,000 to underwrite the reporting of  a substantive reporting project on community health; safety net health issues; health disparities; and child or youth health, welfare or well-being.  For six months after the Fellowship, a Senior Fellow consults regularly with each Fellow about his or her project and helps guide it to completion. Stories must be published or broadcast within six months of the Fellowship sessions. Recruiting runs from January until April 1 for the 2020 National Fellowship.

We offer three specialized reporting funds in conjunction with the National Fellowship.  Applicants to the National Fellowship may apply for a grant from any of these funds, in lieu of the National Fellowship stipend. Applicants may apply to both of the specialty reporting funds, but may receive only one grant. Competition for these grants is strong. Applicants should expect a high level of scrutiny of their proposed projects and budgets and research them accordingly. Applicants for the Hunt and Child Well-being grants should specify the size of the grant they are seeking and provide justification for the amount; however, the judges reserve the right to award a lesser amount than sought. 

Each year, the Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism awards reporting grants of between $2,500 and $10,000 to four to seven National Fellows to undertake ambitious investigative or explanatory journalism projects on community health issues. The Hunt Fund supports projects that will broaden the public's understanding of community health -- the impact on health of factors such as poverty, race, ethnicity, pollution, crime, and land-use and urban planning decisions.  

The Fund for Journalism on Child and Youth Well-being  provides reporting grants of between $2,500 and $10,000 to five to seven National Fellows to undertake ambitious investigative or explanatory journalism projects on vulnerable children and their families. The Fund supports projects that explore child welfare, juvenile justice and child health and well-being, including, but not limited to, the impact of chronic stress and childhood trauma on child development; juvenile justice; the intersection between partner violence and child abuse; childhood obesity; the role of policy in improving prospects for children; and innovative solutions to the challenges that children in underserved communities face.

The Community Engagement Fund provides supplemental grants of $1,000 to $2,000 (in addition to those mentioned above) to five Fellows to underwrite innovative community engagement strategies undertaken in connection with a Fellowship project, as well as specialized mentoring.   

Data Fellowship 

The 2020 Data Fellowship will be held in October 2020 (dates TBD).  The Fellowship is meant for journalists who are already covering health and want to deepen their experience with health datasets and improve their data analysis and data visualization skills. Applicants must have some familiarity with Excel. The 2018 Data Fellowship introduced 16 journalists from around the country to the wealth of state and federal health and child welfare and well-being data sets that can inform and elevate their reporting and provided two tracks of data analysis and visualization skills training. Each Fellow  received a $2,000 grant to assist with the costs of reporting an ambitious data-based Fellowship project, as well as six months of mentoring by a Senior Fellow.  

For more information, write Martha Shirk at

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