What is the Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship?

The Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship is a unique, transformative learning opportunity open to women and nonbinary journalists from every country around the world. Since 2005, the IWMF has selected one Neuffer Fellow each year to complete a seven-month Fellowship focused on human rights and social justice issues. The Fellowship was created in memory of The Boston Globe correspondent and IWMF Courage in Journalism Award (1998) winner Elizabeth Neuffer, who died while reporting in Iraq on May 9, 2003. Those selected for the Fellowship spend a semester at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and The Boston Globe. During their time in Cambridge, Neuffer Fellows audit a variety of classes, attend seminars and events, pursue independent research and gain newsroom experience. Neuffer Fellows are also able to audit classes at other local universities including Harvard. After the semester, those selected for the Fellowship spend two months in New York City interning for the The New York Times. With the knowledge they gain from these academic and professional opportunities, fellows return to work as journalists in their home countries where they advance Elizabeth Neuffer’s work in the fields of human rights and social justice.

What is the timeline for the Neuffer Fellowship? And, where will the Neuffer Fellowship take place?

Starting in 2023, the seven-month Fellowship will begin in January and conclude in July. Depending on public health guidelines and restrictions, the program includes an orientation in Washington, D.C. Previously, the seven-month Fellowship began in the fall and concluded in the spring every year.

Neuffer Fellows are based at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts from January to May. Working with the IWMF, they design a program that will enable them to pursue academic research while improving their ability to cover human rights and social justice issues.

Following the spring semester, Neuffer Fellows are based in New York City where they complete a full-time internship at The New York Times from June to July.

Fellows must complete the entire seven-month program.

What courses can I take?

During the fall semester, Neuffer Fellows have the opportunity to audit a variety of classes at MIT and other local universities. Neuffer Fellows work with the Center for International Studies to design their academic schedules, and each fellow decides how many classes they want to audit, as well as how much time they want to spend in The Boston Globe newsroom. Applicants may visit the website for the Center for International Studies to learn more, as well as browse MIT’s course listings here.

Am I eligible?

The Neuffer Fellowship is open to women, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming journalists whose work focuses on human rights and social justice issues. 

All applicants for the Neuffer Fellowship must be working journalists with at least three years of full-time, professional journalism experience. Internships and journalism-related work completed as a university student do not count as professional experience. Applicants may be staff or freelance journalists.

Journalists from any country around the world are eligible to apply. However, applicants must speak, read and write English fluently in order to fully participate in and benefit from the Fellowship.

Applicants nominate themselves for the Neuffer Fellowship by submitting an application and supplementary materials via Submittable.

What is the application and selection timeline?

The application for the 2023 Neuffer Fellowship opens on March 1 and will close on April 15. To receive application notifications, sign up for the IWMF’s mailing list on our home page or follow our social media channels.

The selection process concludes in June. All applicants are notified of their application status shortly thereafter. The press release announcing the Fellow is posted in July.

What are the elements of a Neuffer Fellowship application?

A complete application will include the following information:

  • Biography
  • Current résumé or CV
  • Statement of interest
  • Fellowship goals
  • Two work samples covering human rights or social justice issues (links preferred)
    • If work samples are not in English, applicants must upload their own translations along with a professional translator’s assessment of their accuracy. Alternatively, applicants may have their work samples translated professionally.
  • Two letters of recommendation (in English)

Rather than a lengthy statement of interest, we ask applicants to answer a series of questions that will help us learn about them and their reasons for seeking the Neuffer Fellowship.

The following questions are included in the “Statement of Interest” section:

  • Why is this a good time in your career to participate in the Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship? (limit of 500 words)
  • What is the single most important goal you hope to achieve with the Fellowship? Why? (limit of 500 words)
  • How will achieving the Fellowship goal outlined above improve your journalism on human rights and social justice issues? (limit of 250 words)
  • What are your long-term ambitions? What do you expect to be doing in five years after the Fellowship, and how do you expect the Fellowship experience to help you achieve those ambitions? (limit of 250 words)

The following questions are included in the “Fellowship Goals” section:

  • The Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship has both an academic and journalism component. Does one hold more interest or importance for you in your current career situation than the other does? If so, please explain. (limit of 250 words)
  • Please indicate the subjects you would like to research and explain how they will enrich your journalism and how they relate to your career objectives. (limit of 500 words)
  • Please detail the kind of journalism experiences you would like to have and the particular skills you would like to develop during the newspaper internships. (limit of 500 words)
  • How will these experiences and skills advance your short and long-term career objectives? (limit of 500 words)
  • Beyond The Boston Globe and The New York Times, are there any outlets or events you would like to access while a Fellow? (limit of 500 words)

To learn more about the Neuffer Fellowship and receive application tips, watch our #ConvoswithJournos webinar about the Neuffer Fellowship! 

How will the Neuffer Fellow be selected?

Neuffer Fellows are selected by the IWMF and a committee of Elizabeth Neuffer’s family and friends. Consideration of candidates will be based on their complete applications, the caliber and promise of their reporting on human rights and social justice issues, and their responses explaining how the Fellowship would be a transformative experience for their careers. Finalists for the Fellowship will be interviewed by the IWMF and committee members.

How much financial support will I receive as a fellow?

Neuffer Fellows receive a fixed monthly stipend to cover their living costs. The IWMF also arranges and covers the cost of housing in Cambridge and New York City for the fellow. The IWMF purchases round-trip economy airfare from the fellow’s place of residence to Washington, D.C., as well as transportation between the Fellowship cities. The fellow receives health insurance during the program. The Fellowship does not include a salary. For fellows residing outside of the United States, the Fellowship also covers the costs of applying for and obtaining a U.S. visa. The fellow is fully responsible for any additional incidental expenses and other costs.

What will The New York Times internship be like?

At The New York Times, you will have the opportunity to observe journalists and editors in action, build your skills, and interact with the journalism community.

Elizabeth Neuffer fellows at The New York Times will receive reporting assignments in a department of The Times’ choosing. The goal of the placement is to stretch your journalistic skills — particularly on breaking news — with the help of some of the best editors and reporters in the country. Fellows will likely be assigned to a news department (Live, Express or Climate are possibilities, though departments are subject to change). Fellows will not be able to intern at the International or Gender desk while at The New York Times.

Fellows must be based in New York for the duration of their work at The Times. Ideal candidates will have strong breaking news skills on any topic and be able to write cleanly and with context on deadline.

Will family members be able to accompany the fellow?

Family members are welcome to accompany the fellow. However, the IWMF will not be responsible for any arrangements or expenses related to the travel and residence of family members, including support of visa applications.