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How to Apply for the 2021 Data Fellowship

All applications must be filed through our online application. We suggest that you begin preparing your application in Word or another text format so that you can copy and paste the components into the online application.

 The application asks for the following:

  • Personal Statement (Including Project Proposal) [We recommended that you write this in Word and cut and paste it into the online application]  
  • Use 500 words to tell us who you are. Describe your reporting experience and aspirations and why you are interested in attending the Fellowship. Tell us about the types of health or child health/welfare/wellbeing stories you currently cover (or would like to cover) and why you are interested in attending the Fellowship. Tell us why you are interested in honing your data journalism skills and learning more about health and child welfare/wellbeing data sets and how you anticipate our training will inform your work. 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 websites, we require Google analytics or an equivalent.) If two or more journalists are applying as a team, each should file his or her own application and include a joint project proposal.
  • Think of the project proposal as a pitch. The more detail you provide, the better.   California Journalists should use 750 to 1,000 words to summarize a major California-focused health reporting project. Journalists from other states should use 750 to 1,000 words to summarize a major child health, welfare or well-being reporting project.. We are looking for project descriptions that are in-depth and indicate that you have already done some preliminary research. Be specific about deliverables (e.g. a three-part multimedia newspaper series, three seven-minute radio pieces, a 30-minute TV documentary, a 4,000-word magazine piece and so on). In your description, summarize likely themes, multimedia components and any social media and audience/community engagement strategies you anticipate, interactive digital features, partnerships with other media outlets or community organizations and so on. If your project focuses on a population of people not typically reached by your news organization, tell us how you would make sure that your work reaches them (e.g. co-publication in an ethnic media outlet). Tell us what sources and datasets you anticipate consulting, as well as how you would spend the basic $2,000 reporting grant. If you are requesting a larger grant, specify an amount and submit a budget that justifies it.  These grants are designed to cover reporting costs, such as travel, data set acquisition, translation services and, to a limited extent, a journalist’s otherwise uncompensated time. The size of the requested grant should be commensurate with the scope of your proposed project. The selectors reserve the right to award less than requested. 
  • 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 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. Note:  Any misrepresentation that is discovered after you are admitted to the Fellowship will result in your dismissal.

  • Editor Checklist (Word document): 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 its standards.

  • 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 and the newsroom's support for your project. The letter should also confirm the following:

  • That you have discussed your proposed stories with your supervisor or assigning editor.  Please tell us why they are important to the news outlet.

  • 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)

  • Data Experience Survey:  Complete at this link
  • Applicants must join and post a profile and photo.

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. 

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

Tips for Maximizing Your Chances of Being Selected

  • Think big journalistically. 
  • Provide lots of details about what we can expect from your project.  Provides specifics, such as likely story count and multimedia components. We want to know what will result from our investment in you.
  • We're looking for impact, so tell us what problem your project will expose and what might happen as a result of increased awareness by the public and policymakers.
  • Tell us how you will engage the community with your project.  It's not sufficient any more to just put something out there.  Tell us how you will involve the public both in helping shape your journalism and responding to it.

 Fellowship Terms:

All Fellows are expected to:

  • Attend all virtual sessions
  • Participate in a "community of Fellows" during 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).    
  • Provide us with digital copies of all components of your project for publication on
  • 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 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

For More Information: In advance of your application, we require a phone conversation about your project idea with one of our Senior Fellows. To arrange to talk to us, please email Sonny Albarado, program consultant, at


More than 100 anti-transgender rights bills were introduced in state legislatures this year. Many focus on children and teens. Join us for our next Health Matters webinar, where we'll explore the health and well-being of transgender youth as states such as Arkansas and Tennessee seek to limit their rights. Our expert panel will share the latest research, seed story ideas and offer reporting advice. Sign-up here!

Are you passionate about helping journalists understand and illuminate the social factors that contribute to health and health disparities at a time when COVID-19 has highlighted the costs of such inequities? Looking to play a big role in shaping journalism today in the United States?  Apply now for one of our positions. 

The best journalism these days wraps compelling narratives around scrupulous data analysis. Apply now for our 2021 Data Fellowship to learn the skills necessary to use big data to inform your reporting on health and social welfare issues. Learn more in this webinar on Aug. 3.


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