Ochberg fellowship – Call for applications 2023

  • Deadline: 1 March 2023
  • Open for: outstanding journalists from any part of the world
  • Benefits: roundtrip travel, 7 nights of lodging, meals and expenses directly related to participation

The Dart Center Ochberg Fellowship is a unique seminar program for senior and mid-career journalists who wish to deepen their knowledge of emotional trauma and psychological injury, and improve reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy.

The Dart Center Ochberg Fellowship, now in its 22nd year, is a unique seminar program for senior and mid-career journalists who wish to deepen their knowledge of emotional trauma and psychological injury, and improve reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy.

Reporting responsibly and credibly on traumatic events – on street crime and family violence, natural disasters and accidents, war and genocide, pandemic and social upheaval – is a major challenge. Since 1999 the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has brought together outstanding journalists from around the world to explore critical issues around news coverage of violence, trauma and tragedy.

Fellows attend an intensive weeklong program of seminars held at Columbia University in New York City. Program activities include briefings by prominent interdisciplinary experts in the trauma and mental health fields; conversations with journalist colleagues on issues of ethics, craft and practice, and a variety of other opportunities for intellectual engagement and peer learning.

The Fellowship is led by a core faculty of prominent journalists and mental health professionals from the Dart Center, along with visiting faculty. Past faculty have included:

  • Judith Lewis Herman, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and author of Trauma and Recovery.
  • Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., Psychiatrist, Researcher and Author of The Body Keeps Score
  • Jonathan Shay, M.D. Ph.D., Clinical Psychiatrist, MacArthur Fellow and author of Achilles in Vietnam and Odysseus in America.
  • Jelani Cobb, Ph.D., Dean of Columbia Journalism School, and Staff Writer, The New Yorker
  • Chicago “violence interrupter” Eddie Bocanegra with Alex Kotlowitz, producer of the documentary film “The Interrupters” and author, There Are No Children Here.
  • Karestan Koenen, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
  • Jessica Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill and Denial: A Memoir of Terror
  • Steven Southwick, M.D., Glenn H. Greenberg Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine and co-author, Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges

The Fellowship was established in 1999 by the Dart Center in partnership with the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. The fellowship is named in honor of Frank Ochberg, M.D., a pioneer in the study of trauma.

The Fellowship program will be held July 21-27, 2023 at Columbia University in New York City. In the event that public health conditions require us to cancel the program, all selected fellows for 2023 will be deferred to 2024.

Eligibility: The Ochberg Fellowships are open to outstanding journalists from any part of the world (with at least five years of professional journalism experience) working across all media. Past Fellows have ranged from small-town and regional general-assignment and crime reporters to war photographers and foreign correspondents for international news organizations. Both staff journalists and freelancers are welcome to apply. Applicants’ work must demonstrate journalistic excellence and a strong track record of covering trauma and its impact on individuals, families or communities.

The Fellowship is open to print, broadcast and digital reporters, photographers, editors and producers with at least five years of professional journalism experience. Approximately half of the Fellows will be based in North America, with the balance drawn from Latin America, Europe, the Asia Pacific region, Africa and the Middle East.

All fellowship seminars are conducted in English. Fellows must be fluent in spoken English to participate in the program.

Benefits: The Ochberg Fellowship covers roundtrip travel, 7 nights of lodging, meals and expenses directly related to participation such as ground transportation and travel insurance. The program does not cover health insurance, additional nights of lodging beyond the Fellowship’s duration or ground transportation in fellows’ home cities.

To apply: for the Ochberg Fellowship, you must create a free account on Submittable. Please apply using Submittable here. In order to submit a completed application, you will need:

  • Resume/CV
  • Letter of interest (Your letter should discuss your work as a journalist, your experiences covering violence and trauma, challenges you’ve encountered or particular events or experiences that have informed your outlook and/or professional trajectory, and what you hope to take away from the fellowship.) [No more than 2 pages]
  • Two relevant work samples (Work samples must have been published or broadcast within the last 24 months by a professional news outlet [no personal websites]. If your work samples are in a language other than English, please submit two sets  – one in the original language and another in English translation. For non-English audio, video or multimedia, you may submit a translated transcript.)
  • Two letters of recommendation (You will be asked to provide an email address for each of your recommenders and they will be contacted directly by Submittable to submit their recommendation for your application. Recommendation letters can be submitted by March 8 the latest.)

For more information please visit the official website.

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