How to Apply for MIT Environmental Solutions Journalism Fellowships 2024

The aim of the fellowship (which is offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)) is to support both freelance and staff journalists associated with U.S. local/regional newsrooms. The focus of the Fellowship is on developing impactful news projects that delve into how climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy intersect with local communities and regions, prioritizing local messengers, values, and concerns.

MIT Environmental Solutions Journalism Fellowships

MIT Environmental Solutions Journalism Fellowships 2024

Research shows that highlighting the local impacts and responses to climate change is a powerful way to engage audiences in climate solutions. Despite this, climate reporting is largely concentrated within national news outlets.

The fellowship seeks to provide Americans, particularly those in areas where climate change is contentious or underreported, with well-researched journalism on the implications of transitioning to a low-carbon economy for their lives, communities, and local economies.

Key Aspects of the Fellowship Include

  • Exploring how climate change and the shift to a low-carbon economy align with the audience’s existing priorities and values.
  • Concentrating on the newsroom’s home county(ies) or state.
  • Featuring lived experiences, local perspectives, and voices.
  • Demonstrating a deep understanding of the audience and their local concerns.
  • Focusing on investigative or explanatory journalism.
  • Creating either a long-form feature or a series of at least four shorter pieces.
  • Initiating local discussions on climate change solutions and empowering the audience to engage with the issue.
  • Securing a commitment from a local/regional news outlet to publish the project.

Fellowship Details

  • The fellowship spans four months which allows Fellows to work on their projects while maintaining their regular employment or contracts. Fellows will receive 50% of the stipend upfront and the remaining 50% upon publication.
  • Fellows will also receive up to $5,000 for project-related expenses. Eligible expenses include relief from daily newsroom duties, project-related travel, multimedia development, transcription or translation services, attending relevant conferences or workshops, or contracting external journalism resources like data analysts or sensitivity readers. Notably, the funds cannot be used for family member payments, and all expenditures must be documented and approved by the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative.

Eligibility Criteria

Applications are open to staff writers of U.S. newsrooms and freelance journalists affiliated with newsrooms, who aim to undertake ambitious projects independently or collaboratively with other media outlets.

Eligible newsrooms include newspapers, news magazines, broadcast stations, digital news platforms, and investigative journalism organizations. However, individuals associated with think tanks, lobbying groups, or advocacy organizations are ineligible.

As an applicant, you need to demonstrate proven journalism experience, the ability to execute complex projects, and a strong background in the subject matter.

The fellowship will prioritise engagement with rural, hydrocarbon-producing, and marginalized communities in the U.S., and selection committees are instructed to consider this in their placements.

Application Requirements 

To apply, you need:

  • A resume/CV
  • A one-page cover letter introducing yourself, your proposed project, qualifications, and reasons for seeking fellowship support
  • A letter of recommendation and commitment from a news editor pledging publication of the feature/series
  • Up to three samples of your best and most relevant work from the past 24 months
  • A two- to three-page project proposal outlining the project’s features, target audience, engagement strategies, required expertise and resources, potential conflicts of interest, proposed budget, and optional audience engagement component.

How to Apply

The application deadline is April 28, 2024. To apply click More information can be found on the MIT Fellowship website.

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