USC Annenberg 2021 National Fellowship, with $2k-$12k grants

Every day we learn more about the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. The pandemic has revealed pervasive social and economic inequities in the United States and the continuing health effects of systemic racism and exclusion. For our 2021 National Fellowship, the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism is inviting proposals for ambitious reporting projects on health disparities or the health, welfare and well-being of vulnerable children, youth, families and communities — as seen through a COVID-19 lens. 

Given the continued uncertainty about when travel can safely resume, we’ll be holding the Fellowship on Zoom. We’ll still be offering five days of informative and stimulating discussions, plus reporting and engagement grants of $2,000-$12,000 and five months of expert mentoring to 20 competitively selected journalists. 

When: July 19-23,2021
 Where: Online
Deadline to Apply: May 17, 2021

Based at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism, theNational Fellowshipis open to print, broadcast and multimedia journalists from around the country. The Fellowship is appropriate not only for health reporters, but for all reporters with an interest in social issues, whether they’re education, government, environment, criminal justice, social services or immigration specialists or general assignment reporters. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to convene with reporters from around the country and discuss some of the most pressing health issues affecting vulnerable communities,” said 2020 National Fellow Dan Diamond, whose Fellowship project for POLITICO on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on 100,000 Marshall Islanders living in the United States is a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting (see illustration above). Dan’s reporting led Congress to restore Medicaid benefits to the Marshallese decades after a clerical error had taken them away — a textbook example of the “impact reporting” model the Center promotes.

About two-thirds of the 20 Fellows will receive grants of $2,500-$10,000 from one of two specialty reporting funds — the Dennis A. Hunt Journalism Fundand the Fund for Journalism on Child and Youth Well-being, plus mentoring, to support the reporting of ambitious investigative or explanatory projects over five months. The other National Fellows will receive grants of $2,000. In addition, five Fellows will receive supplemental grants of up to $2,000 for community engagement, as well as specialized mentoring.

The Hunt Fund will support reporting that examines the successes and challenges of health care reform or the effects of a specific factor or confluence of factors on a community, such as the coronavirus epidemic, poverty, ethnic or racial disparities, pollution, violence, land use and access to health care or food. 

The Child and Youth Well-being Fund will support investigative or explanatory reporting on the impact of poverty, trauma, adversity — or the coronavirus epidemic — on children, youth and their families, as well as the effectiveness of public and private agencies dedicated to protecting them.

We’d welcome proposals for any of the funds for investigative inquiries into how public resources were allocated during the crisis and how the stress of becoming infected and losing livelihoods and homes impacted already strained families.

The National Fellowship is open to both newsroom staffers and freelancers. The grants can be used to defray reporting and publishing- or broadcasting-related costs such as travel, data set acquisition and analysis, translation services, community engagement strategies, multimedia enhancements and a journalist’s otherwise uncompensated time. Preference is given to applicants who propose collaboration between or co-publication or co-broadcast in both mainstream and ethnic media outlets.

For more information, visit Center for Health Journalism or email program consultant Martha Shirk at To improve your prospects for success, we strongly recommend that you discuss your project idea with us in advance of applying.