Apply to Be a Visiting Journalist

There is a long, rich history of journalists writing and reporting compellingly about topics related to the Russell Sage Foundation’s (RSF) mission to "improve the social and living conditions in the United States." The growth of economic inequality and its consequences, inequities in educational achievement and attainment, the impact of modern immigration, and recent racial tensions over urban policing are all examples of topics addressed by journalists that are central to RSF programs, and which have been the subject of study by RSF scholars and grantees. In conducting original research on a wide range of social, political, and economic conditions and presenting those findings to the public, journalists are critical to our understanding of Americans' lives and lived experiences.

Because journalists report on issues of relevance to RSF, the Foundation has established a Visiting Journalist Fellowship that has two goals. First, the fellowship can fill a need that journalism's own institutions are not set up to fulfill—that is, to provide journalists the time and resources needed to carry out an original project.

Second, the fellowship is an opportunity for journalists to carry out their projects while interacting with resident visiting scholars who might help inform the development of these projects. We expect to foster relationships between social scientists and journalists interested in topics related to the Foundation's core programs through interactions with RSF staff, scholars and trustees. These interactions will help provide access to the most recent social science research and policy analysis on the journalist's topic and to help put their specific reporting into broader context.

Through its Visiting Scholars Program, RSF has a long history of providing a unique interdisciplinary environment for distinguished social scientists to work on their own research projects while engaging with other scholars in ways that mutually enhance their work. Thus, RSF is ideally equipped to provide an environment where journalists and social scientists can interact with the goal of making journalistic work more informed and social science research more valuable and accessible to the public.


RSF will invite up to two journalists each year to be in residence at the Foundation, for a visit starting September 1 and lasting between 2-4 months. RSF will pay visiting journalists a stipend of $8,000 per month for full-time visits of up to four months (maximum stipend of $32,000 per individual fellowship). Fellows are provided with an office at the Foundation, computers and software, and library access. Applicants who reside outside of the greater New York City area may be provided with a partially-subsidized apartment near RSF, if available.

This residential fellowship requires significant Foundation resources and journalists are expected to fully engage in the intellectual life of RSF. For that reason, they are expected to be in their office at least 75 percent of the days that the Foundation is open.

Journalists who are interested in a full-year fellowship to complete a book or other major project that would necessitate a longer stay should consider applying to the Foundation's Visiting Scholars Program.

Eligibility: Applicants should be journalists with a minimum of 5-7 years of experience who write or report on social, economic, or political conditions in the United States.

How to Apply

  1. Visit our online application portal, create an account, and complete the application form
  2. Submit a letter describing the project to be undertaken while in residence at the Foundation through the portal (Note: No more than 5 pages describing the project, single-spaced, with standard 11 or 12-point font, and 1 inch margins)
    • Your letter should also include an appendix of up to 20 pages that illustrates or include example(s) of prior work; you may also submit a short appendix with links to examples.
  3. Submit an up-to-date abbreviated CV (maximum of 5 pages) through the portal

The application letter should outline the basics of the project to be carried out while in residence, how the project is relevant to RSF's social science program areas, how the fellowship and interactions with the Foundation's Visiting Scholars and staff would be beneficial to the project by incorporating social science, and the expected outcome of the work, e.g., a news story or series, a magazine article, book, etc.

In outlining the basics of the project they intend to carry out while in residence, applicants should (1) provide an overview of work already in progress or completed (e.g., is the project just beginning, mid-stage where field research is still occurring, or close to complete where time to write is essential?), (2) specify where and how field research will occur and information is to be collected or gathered, and (3) indicate how and why the project is at a stage where it would benefit from interactions with social scientists during a residency at the Foundation. The fellowship is designed to provide journalists with access to the most recent social science research and policy analysis that can provide context for a journalist’s reporting. The applicant must make the case for how the project could benefit from time at RSF and interactions with the resident social scientists.

Letters of recommendation are not accepted. All applications will be reviewed by a committee of journalistic peers and social scientists with topical expertise in the project proposed. Selected applicants are typically contacted within 45 days of the application deadline; acceptances cannot be deferred.

If you have questions about the program or the application process, please contact Program Director James Wilson at


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


The Russell Sage Foundation offers grants and positions in our Visiting Scholars program for research.


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