Who is eligible to apply for an IWMF reporting fellowship?

  • Affiliated or freelance women journalists currently working full time in the news media, with three (3) or more years of professional experience. Internships do not count toward professional experience.
  • Women journalists of all nationalities are welcome to apply.
  • Non-native English speakers must have excellent written and verbal English skills in order to fully participate in and benefit from the program.
  • Applicant must be able to show proof of interest from an editor or have a proven track record of publication in prominent media outlets.

Before submitting an application, journalists are encouraged to review the application criteria and guidelines.

What is the application process?

To participate in a Fellowship, each applicant must submit a trip-specific application. Applications will be made accessible online, with a formal call for applications posted to the IWMF website.
The online application asks for the following:

  • Basic personal information
  • CV
  • Work samples
  • A statement of interest including detailed story pitches
  • A plan for publication
  • A letter of support from an editor or a proven track record of publication

Before submitting an application, journalists are encouraged to review the application criteria and guidelines, which includes a complete sample application.

Can journalists apply for multiple trips?

For each application cycle, applicants must choose one reporting trip to apply for.

Are there are citizenship restrictions?

Reporting fellowships are open to women journalists of all nationalities.

How long is each reporting fellowship?

Reporting Fellowships are about 11 days each. They begin with four (4) days of hostile environments and first aid training (HEFAT), followed by at least eight (8) days of independent and group reporting in the messaged base location.

Each Fellowship is different: please read the trip specific call for applications for more details.

What is the structure of the reporting fellowship?

All Fellows selected for a reporting trip will participate together in three (3) days of hostile environments and first aid training (HEFAT). This training will take place in a location messaged in the call for applications: frequent sites include Nairobi or Kampala. From the HEFAT site, Fellows will travel as a group to their reporting base location to begin independent and group work on their stories.

The IWMF will hire local fixers and drivers to help Fellows schedule meetings, organize interviews, arrange logistics, and accompany them on the ground. During the reporting trip, Fellows will share resources, and will travel most days with at least one (1) other Fellow. Reporting trips Groups typically consist of six (6) Fellows and two (2) IWMF staff members. For each group, the IWMF typically provides three (3) in-country fixers and three (3) drivers; journalists are expected to share the resources provided. In advance of each trip, IWMF staff works with fixers to coordinate reporting priorities.

Highlights from IWMF Reporting Fellowships can be seen on our blog.

Where will fellows be based during the trip?

At the front end of each reporting trip, Fellows will participate in Hostile environments and first aid training (HEFAT). This training will take place in a location messaged in the trip specific call for applications: either Nairobi or Kampala.

Fellows will then travel to a base city in their trip country, determined by IWMF staff in advance and messaged in the trip call for applications. Journalists should pitch stories that can be reported in and around the base camp location. Travel beyond the base location will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What expenses does the IWMF cover?

The IWMF covers Fellowship-related costs within the framework of the reporting trip location and dates, including travel, lodging, meals, and fixers/interpreters, unless a selected journalist’s news organization wishes to assume these costs. Visa costs will also be covered. Fellows living outside the U.S. are responsible for procuring all necessary visas, for which they will be reimbursed at the conclusion of the Fellowship.

What types of stories are produced during reporting fellowships?

Each Fellowship will have a reporting theme, which will be messaged in the trip specific call for applications. Journalists are expected to pitch stories that fall within the theme of the reporting trip for which they are applying. Themes are purposely broad, to include a wide variety of stories and angles.

Journalists selected for a Fellowship are expected to pursue the stories they pitched in their application. The coverage of new and under-reported narratives is a cornerstone of the Great Lakes program. Applicants who pitch stories that diverge from the traditional themes of conflict and humanitarian crisis, and who focus on new and in-depth perspectives, will have a greater likelihood of selection.Reporting themes include economic and rural development, conservation and conflict, democracy and governance, civic engagement, food security, and the impact of aid.

Where are reporting fellows’ stories published and produced?

Reporting fellows’ stories have been published and aired by a wide variety of leading media outlets. Fellows produce stories for the media outlet(s) of their choice. The IWMF does not hold intellectual property rights or exercise editorial control over work produced by reporting Fellows. Journalists are expected to produce at least one story from the reporting trip, to credit the IWMF for supporting the story when it is aired or published, and to share published work with the IWMF.

How is the initiative funded?

The initiative is made possible by a four-year, $5 million grant from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.