Locating funding and fellowship opportunities online

By on July 5, 2017

This is one in a series of blog posts from the MJ Bear Fellows, three journalists under 30 selected each year who are expanding the boundaries of digital news. Applications for the 2017 MJ Bear Fellowship are now open – you can learn more here.

For perpetually cash-strapped journalists, the ability to find opportunities for funding or fellowships is a necessity. But with the dizzying array of information the Internet presents, it’s easy to feel lost, as I did when I aimlessly searched on Google a few years back and got millions of results. While I still have miles to go to master the art of maneuvering the search for global opportunities, I have come across the following sites that I think will be particularly useful, especially for journalists new to the field.

This list is by no means exhaustive. I’m writing this post as part of ONA’s MJ Bear Fellowship program, and ONA offers numerous other programs. I’ve also excluded many stand-alone opportunities such as the Nieman Fellowship or the World Press Institute fellowship, as I have only included platforms that aggregate opportunities and are free.

International Journalists’ Network (IJNet)

The International Center for Journalists’ IJNet is one of the best websites I have come across that lists opportunities for journalists – jobs, fellowships, grants, webinars, competitions, conferences, you name it. They produce a succinct newsletter that sorts opportunities by regions – Africa, Asia, Europe and North America – making it incredibly easy to stay abreast of global journalism offerings. I highly recommend you subscribe!

Earth Journalism Network (EJN)

Interviewing James Close, head of Climate Change at World Bank in COP 22, Marrakech

Developed by Internews, EJN is an excellent resource for journalists for developing nations, providing trainings, small grants and access to a network of over 8,000 journalists worldwide. Through this website, I got to know of the Climate Change Media Partnership Fellowship for the international climate change conference COP 22, which provided me a full ride to report on the conference from Morocco last year.

Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN)

While specifically targeted to investigative journalists, the GIJN website provides an amazing collection of resources for free, including list of awards, data journalism books and opportunities to attend the Global Investigative Journalism Conference where journalism pundits and innovators converge.

The group of fellows and trainers of TRF’s “Uncovering security: emerging threats” program outside Wilton Park’s Wiston House

Thomson Reuters Foundation

This prestigious media organization’s foundation lists a lot of free guides, handbooks and tip sheets on reporting. It also lists training opportunities, which are very competitive, as you will be exposed to some of the best journalism gurus and top-notch training sessions, as well as prospects for funding your story ideas. I had the privilege of being selected as one of 10 international journalists for their fully-funded residential training titled “Uncovering Security: Emerging Threats.” The training was held in a spellbinding venue, Wilton Park’s Wiston House of England.

Youth Opportunities

A product of my country, Bangladesh, this user-friendly website justifiably gets millions of hits from youth around the world, as it is one of the most comprehensive databases of capacity-building opportunities for young people. While it is not targeted specifically for journalists alone, this website, now available as a free app on the Google Play store, lists a plethora of higher education fellowships, conference scholarships, seminars, internships and exchange programs that journalists can benefit from.

As new websites and opportunities keep popping up everyday, I encourage you all to keep browsing. Happy Googling!

Sohara Mehroze Shachi

Sohara Mehroze Shachi

Sohara is a 2016 MJ Bear Fellow. She and her team have developed an app called Newstant that allows users to download news content to a smartphone and then read or listen to it offline. She explained that this is important in Bangladesh because, while a large number of users have Android smartphones, wi-fi connectivity is sparse. Newstant categorizes news and allows users to customize it based on their preference and prior browsing habits. It also can convert text to speech so that users can listen to it hands free while driving or working, and it has an incident map to keep track of area specific information. In addition to her work as co-founder of Newstant, Sohara writes freelance for various national and international outlets including the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the Dhaka Tribune where she previously worked as a sub editor and feature writer. She also works for the climate change team at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bangladesh. Sohara is serving as the Vice Curator of the Dhaka Hub of Global Shapers Community, a network of hubs developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, their achievements and their drive to make a contribution to their communities. She also leads the South Asia hub of Climate Tracker, providing support to youth journalists and climate activists. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Yale University. While she was a student, she also studied Southeast Asian Urban Development at the National University of Singapore and Foreign Policy Analysis at the University of Cambridge in the UK. Sohara recently was awarded the South Asia Media Fellowship by the Asia Pacific Network (APN) to report on climate change and food security, and last year she was awarded the Climate Tracker Youth Fellowship to cover COP 21, the UN Climate Change conference.