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 stay at the Foundation are (a) those who are beginning a large 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 place it in context, and need to devote intensive time to writing. In most cases, the fellowship is likely to be more productive for the latter group.

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 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 also present their work as part of one of the Foundation’s weekly seminars.

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

We expect that visiting journalists will spend at least 75% of their time at RSF during the fellowship period. We are providing resources for journalists to work on projects that would benefit from time away from normal activities, but we also understand that some projects might require journalists to be in the field for part of this period. Our expectation is that journalists will largely use this time to develop in greater depth a written or reported product that will benefit from the resources that we provide.

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 three 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?

RSF accepts applications once a year (typically early May). Applicants can request visits of two to three months starting as early as September 1 and with an end date no later than June 30. Space permitting, RSF will select several journalists per year.

The Russell Sage Foundation
Journal of the Social Sciences

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.

Awards

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

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