Institute for Justice and Journalism immigration fellowship applications open, deadline Feb 22

Interesting fellowship opportunity – details below. Deadline Feb 22. -mia


Institute for Justice and Journalism Now Accepting Applications for 2013 Immigration in the Heartland Program


The Institute for Justice and Journalism is accepting applications for its 2013 Immigration in the Heartland professional fellowship program, which will focus on children in immigrant families, who count for one in four of all U.S. youngsters. The program will explore the economic and educational challenges these children face and how immigration policies have deeply impacted them, even though about 88 percent are U.S. citizens.

About 15 journalists will be chosen for the weeklong conference, “Immigration in the Heartland: Children and Families,” to be held April 21-25, at the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The application deadline is Feb. 22.

“Our program will provide journalists with information, context and reporting techniques so they can produce richer stories about immigrant children and families in their communities,” said Phuong Ly, IJJ’s executive director.

As part of their applications, journalists must propose an enterprise project on immigrant children to be undertaken through the fellowship for publication or broadcast. Each fellow will receive a $500 stipend upon completion of the story project and a “Story Behind the Story” account.

IJJ, a nonprofit based in Oakland, Calif., seeks to strengthen journalism on social justice issues through fellowships, reporting workshops, direct support of in-depth stories and the development of digital resources for reporters. Since its founding in 2000, IJJ has conducted 14 successful fellowship programs, involving more than 300 journalists and resulting in high-quality, award-winning stories and commentary.

This is the fourth year that IJJ has organized an “Immigration in the Heartland” conference in partnership with OU’s Gaylord College and its Institute for Research and Training. The Heartland programs explore national immigration topics, with special attention to Midwestern states, where immigrants are the fastest growing part of the population.

The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation has funded all four Heartland programs. The 2013 program also is supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which is dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children in the United States.

This year’s program will include:

  • Discussions led by experts on the impact of immigration enforcement and state laws such as Arizona’s SB1070 on immigrant families; the economic and educational conditions faced by the children; and the political mobilization of immigrant youths.
  •  A session on data on immigrant children and families and how to find and use data to enhance reporting, led by researchers from the Casey Foundation’s Kids Count project.
  •  Hands-on training using investigative tools such as FOIA and the TRAC database to get information about immigration-related agencies. The session will be led by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Martha Mendoza, of the Associated Press, and Dianne Solis, senior reporter at the Dallas Morning News.
  • A session on demystifying immigration laws and policies, led by noted immigration attorney Daniel Kowalski.
  • A visit to a charter school in Oklahoma City, where nearly all the students are from immigrant families.


Guidelines for Applicants


All journalists reporting stories or providing commentary for print, television, radio or online distribution are eligible. Applications are encouraged from those employed by news outlets as well as from independent journalists, including bloggers and other online content producers.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents or non-citizens with unrestricted employment authorization. Students are not eligible.

Selection of Fellows: The selection committee will consider applicants’ professional accomplishments, individual and organizational commitment to the aims of the program, plus the quality of the story project proposal.

Terms: IJJ and the Gaylord College will provide the educational sessions, lodging and meals, and travel. IJJ also will award a $500 stipend to each fellow upon completion of the story project and “Story Behind the Story” account.

Fellows are expected to:

•   Participate fully in all scheduled activities and designated online offerings, including those before the start of the program.

•   Provide monthly progress reports on the status of the story project.

•   Complete fellowship project stories or commentary and a “Story Behind the Story.”
•   Commit to remaining involved with IJJ and sharing what they have learned with colleagues and others.


Fellows’ news organizations are expected to:

•   Publish or air fellowship project stories that meet their standards.

•   Provide time off for Fellows to take part in the Oklahoma sessions.

•   Agree to IJJ’s re-publication or broadcast of project stories (with appropriate credit).


Checklist for Applicants


Materials Required for Submission: Application materials must be submitted via email in two Word attachments.Include this material in the email:

Attachment 1.  A completed application form, which can be downloaded: Heartland 2013 application.

Attachment 2.

A. A description of the enterprise project you would like to pursue as part of your participation in the program. Be as specific as possible about the story angle, your reporting strategy and potential sources and data you envision for your project. Explain why this story topic or story framing is significant. Word limit: 400 words.

B. An assessment of what you would expect to gain from the fellowship experience, and what you would bring to it (e.g. how past accomplishments relate to current professional interests). 200 words.

C. For independent journalists only: Specify where you would expect to publish or broadcast your work. Has your work been published/broadcast in that media outlet before? Word limit: 100 words.

D. Work Samples: Relevant samples of your work that demonstrate your journalistic abilities. (For work published or broadcast in a language other than English, provide a short summary in English for each sample submitted.) See application for instructions.


Letter of Recommendation

A one-page letter of recommendation is required. It should be emailed separately by the person writing the letter to The same Feb. 22 deadline applies.

—For members of a news staff: A letter from your supervisor endorsing the application and story project, and committing to publish/broadcast the story project if it meets its standards.

—For independent journalists: A letter of recommendation from a person familiar with your professional work and describing the basis for the recommendation, or a letter confirming interest in the journalistic project you are proposing.

Application Deadline

The complete application packet, as outlined above, must be e-mailed before 11 p.m. (applicant’s local time) on Feb. 22. The deadline also applies to the letter of recommendation. Email to No faxed or late applications will be accepted.



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