Fellowship for Advancing Science Journalism in Africa and the Middle East
This new one-semester fellowship, hosted by the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT, was inspired by the life and career of Egyptian science journalist Mohammed Yahia. The fellowship was created in partnership with Springer Nature, publisher of Nature Middle East, which grew to be an important contributor to science reporting in the region under Yahia’s leadership from 2010-2023.
The fellowship is designed to enrich the training of a journalist from Africa or the Middle East so they can contribute to a culture of high-quality science and health journalism in those regions, as well as raising awareness of regional advances in the rest of the world.
Following Yahia’s untimely death in the summer of 2023, Springer Nature and the Knight Science Journalism Program worked together to create a fellowship in honor of his remarkable contributions to science journalism.
The Fellowship for Advancing Science Journalism in Africa and the Middle East is designed, through a combination of study and specialized training, to help reporters and editors from the region to further develop a successful career in science journalism.
This will be a one-semester fellowship, held in the fall of the academic year beginning in 2024, hosted by KSJ at MIT. The fellow will join other KSJ fellows in a program of study at MIT and other Cambridge/Boston area universities and in the program’s seminars, training workshops and field trips throughout the semester.
- $40,000 stipend for the semester
- MIT health insurance
- $5,000 stipend to help with start-up housing costs
- Full access MIT benefits such as subsidized public transportation, access to museums and other programs in the area
- Connections to a thriving community of science journalists
Journalists based in Africa and the Middle East with at least three years’ experience reporting on science, health or environmental issues in the region. Applicants may be reporters, writers, editors, producers, illustrators, filmmakers, or photojournalists. This includes work for newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and digital media. Applicants should be proficient in spoken and written English.
The fellowship will open for applications between February 1, 2024 and March 1, 2024. A panel of judges will review the submissions, interview finalists, and announce a final selection by mid-March.
What should I include in my application?
Each applicant must submit the following documents:
- Statement of Purpose: Describe, in 500 words or less, why you want to participate in the Fellowship for Advancing Science Journalism in Africa and the Middle East and how it fits with your professional goals.
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae: Provide a brief overview of your education, work history, and professional honors. (Freelancers should include a list of freelance jobs completed in the past 12 months. Include each story, venue, and date of publication or broadcast.)
- Three Work Samples: Please provide three (3) relevant work samples. Choose samples that best illustrate your interest and abilities. Please include a translation for any work not produced in English.
- Letter of Professional Reference: Please provide at least one (1) letter of recommendation; additional letters are optional. The letter should come from an individual familiar with your work and should comment on your abilities and your commitment to journalism. Applicants will provide the name and e-mail address for their recommenders in the application form, and letter requests will be sent to the recommenders automatically.
About Mohammed Yahia
Yahia was the former Managing Editor of the Nature Portfolio in the Middle East and had recently been appointed as editor-in-chief at C&EN, the magazine of the American Chemical Society at the time of his death at the age of 41. He was known for his unwavering commitment to science, his talent for simplifying complex research, and his passion for advancing Arabic language skills. He served as President of the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) from 2017 to 2019, making significant contributions to global science journalism and fostering collaboration among professionals in the field. Under his guidance, the WFSJ flourished as a platform for professionals in the field to come together, exchange ideas, and amplify the significance of accurate and compelling science reporting.
About Springer Nature
Springer Nature is the founding sponsor of the Fellowship. As a global publisher of trusted research, including Nature Africa and Nature Middle East and the rest of the Nature Portfolio, they support essential and accurate science communication around the world. Yahia worked for Springer Nature for 14 years, where he built an award-winning editorial team.
About the Knight Science Journalism Program
The Knight Science Journalism Program, established at MIT in 1983, is the world’s leading science journalism fellowship program. More than 400 leading science journalists from six continents have graduated from the program, which offers a course of study at MIT, Harvard University and other leading institutions in the Boston area, as well as specialized training workshops, seminars, and science-focused field trips for all attendees. KSJ also publishes an award-winning science magazine, Undark, and offers programming to journalists on topics ranging from science editing to fact-checking.
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