Frequently Asked Questions: Visiting Journalists Program

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What is the benefit to a journalist interested in RSF's Visiting Journalist Fellowship?

Journalists are often constrained by deadline pressures and limited newsroom budgets and may not be able to explore the issues behind the daily headlines in-depth. The RSF Visiting Journalist Fellowship is intended to help journalists deepen their expertise and understanding of the relevant social science research on a project of original journalism that will enhance our understanding of contemporary social, political and economic conditions in the U.S.

What is the Russell Sage Foundation?

RSF is a non-profit operating foundation devoted to "the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States." RSF focuses exclusively on strengthening the methods, data, and theoretical core of the social sciences as a means of diagnosing U.S. social problems and improving U.S. social policies. We do this in several ways. We fund social science research in our core program areas of: Behavioral Economics; Future of Work; Race, Ethnicity and Immigration; and Social Inequality. We support a Visiting Scholars program, in which 16-18 distinguished social scientists are selected to spend the academic year in residence working on projects relevant to our core programs. We also publish scholarly books and, starting in late-2015, an open-access, on-line journal.

Does the Foundation have a particular view or ideological orientation?

RSF is non-ideological and non-partisan. We employ a rigorous process of peer review at every phase of our grant-making, fellowship, and publications process.

Who is most likely to benefit from a Visiting Journalist Fellowship?

Journalists most likely to benefit from a residency at RSF are (a) those who are at the mid-stages of a long-form project for which intensive study of the relevant social science research at RSF would be beneficial, or (b) those who have already completed most of their field research, are ready to bring social science research into the project and need to devote intensive time to writing. In most cases, the fellowship is likely to be more productive for the latter group. As a general rule, and consistent with our guidelines for research funding, RSF only considers Visiting Journalist projects at the early stages under exceptional circumstances. Those who are still doing field research and cannot spend at least 75% of the time during their residency at RSF should wait to apply at a later date.

What is the Foundation’s role in the final product produced by Visiting Journalists?

Journalists will have full and final control of the product produced during their fellowship. If a fellow is interested, he or she can inquire about submitting her/his book-length manuscript for consideration for publication by RSF.

How will RSF facilitate interactions between journalists and its staff, scholars, and trustees?

Visiting journalists are expected to attend the Foundation’s weekly seminars given by the resident scholars and invited guests and will be expected to present their work at a seminar. The Foundation’s daily environment provides both an intellectual and casual atmosphere where topics large and small are discussed and interactions are encouraged and facilitated. Visiting journalists are also invited to trustee dinners and other RSF events. Occasions for interacting with scholars, staff, and trustees are frequent, and provide rich opportunities for exploring mutual topics of interest.

What are RSF’s expectations of visiting journalists?

RSF’s fellowships support the research and writing of individuals who are in residence at the foundation.  Through these programs, RSF seeks to promote interdisciplinary dialogue among social scientists, journalists and the foundation staff and foster professional research collaborations. Fellows often remark on the professional benefits of daily lunch discussions, weekly seminars, and informal socializing with an interdisciplinary cohort.

The RSF Visiting Journalist program was created to increase dialogue and foster collaboration between scholars and journalists whose work addresses social issues related to our core program areas. To foster this engagement and community building, RSF expects that journalists will be in residence full-time working on a project that will benefit from the interaction with social scientists and their various disciplinary perspectives. Journalists will be expected to attend all weekly seminars, present their work during one of these seminars, and be available for discussion at lunch.

During the two- to four-month fellowship, are there requirements for how much time journalists must spend at RSF as part of the fellowship?

Journalists are expected to spend at least 75% of their fellowship period at work at the Foundation’s offices. Absence from the Foundation for more than a quarter of the fellowship period may lead to review and possible reduction of the award. If you have any questions about this policy, please let us know.

Is the fellowship restricted to journalists working in particular formats?

Our fellowship is open to journalists working in any media (e.g., print, broadcast, or online outlets, documentary films, etc.). Our primary concern is that journalists work on projects related to our core program areas, and that their final product will benefit from time in residence at RSF and the intellectual interactions with visiting scholars, staff, and trustees.

Is it possible to apply for a fellowship outside of New York City?

No. The primary goal of the fellowship is to provide the opportunity for sustained interaction among journalists, visiting scholars, and staff at the RSF headquarters in New York. Visiting journalists will be expected to be in the office most days during their fellowship (with the exceptions noted above in question 8.)

What resources does the Foundation provide as part of the fellowship?

RSF will pay visiting journalists an honorarium of $8,000 per month for full-time visits of two to four months. Selected fellows are provided with an office at the Foundation, computers and software, library access, and limited research assistance. Applicants who come from outside of the greater New York City area will be provided with a partially-subsidized apartment near RSF.

Are fellowships available throughout the year?

No. 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 accepts applications once a year (typically early May).


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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