Call for Applications: Cross-country reporting fellowship ‘Crossing the Divide’

Fellowship brings together a team of diverse, emerging journalists to join in a reporting journey across America.

The GroundTruth Project, in partnership with Boston public media producer WGBH, is calling for applications for a new reporting fellowship called “Crossing the Divide,” which will pull together a team of diverse, emerging journalists to join in a reporting journey across America at a time of deep social, political and economic divisions.

Five selected journalists will be invited on a three-month reporting trip starting in late August and ending in mid-November 2017. The team will travel across the country from Massachusetts, through Kentucky, along the Mississippi River to Minnesota and on to Montana and then the northern coast of California.

The application process is being made available to recent graduates of five public universities: the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Western Kentucky University; the University of Minnesota; the University of Montana; and the University of California, Berkeley. The communities around these five universities will serve as a basecamp for the reporting fellows during the journey. As many as 20 high school students from these five communities will also be involved as “junior fellows” to help report on local angles of the project.

GroundTruth is looking to build a team of five reporting fellows with a diversity of talent and backgrounds, and ideally we would like each team member to bring an individual storytelling strength to the table, in photography, writing, video, audio or live broadcast through Facebook Live and Snapchat. The five reporting fellows will work closely together to produce a multimedia body of work about the deep social and economic issues that divide the country, and how individuals and communities are “crossing the divide.” With a focus on education, immigration, socioeconomic inequality and workforce development, fellows will take an enterprising and solutions-based approach to not only explain the divisions that are pulling the country apart, but how communities are trying to bridge the differences.

The reporting will be packaged and shared with local distribution partners, such as local newspapers, public radio stations and college news media, with the entire body of reporting also curated as a special report on GroundTruth/WGBH’s website. Fellows will use social media to document the journey, to invite conversation and to join in a shared effort to increase transparency about the journalistic process.

“Our goal is to build a team across different parts of the country and different points of view, from Appalachia to the heartland to the coasts, that will work together to overcome stereotypes and break out of filter bubbles and be part of facilitating transformative conversations beyond the borders of partisan politics,” said GroundTruth Founder and Executive Director Charles Sennott. “Our hope is that the journalism this project produces will build an audience interested in taking chances to journey across the divides that separate us, and be willing to learn about the other side.”

Fellowship Details

The fellowship kicks off on August 28 in Massachusetts with a week of orientation and training, followed by 10 weeks of reporting across the U.S., and a week of final production time in California.

The fellows will travel across the country as a group in a large passenger van. Each fellow will receive a stipend of $8,400 for their time. Reporting expenses, including local travel, group meals and modest accommodations will be covered, and travel vouchers will be provided to get the fellows to the starting point in Massachusetts and home from California. This will be a fun but challenging road trip, well-suited to those willing to collaborate, improvise and be open to new experiences.

How to Apply

Fellowships are ONLY open to those who have received a degree within the last three years – or will be receiving a degree this spring – from the following universities’ graduate or undergraduate programs: University of Massachusetts Amherst, Western Kentucky University, University of Minnesota, University of Montana and University of California Berkeley.

The application deadline is May 7, 2017, at 11:59 p.m.

Applications may be submitted via this Google Form: 

Please have your resume and a document with three samples or links to journalistic work ready to be uploaded. We are seeking sample work that includes a piece of enterprising journalism and two pieces of work that demonstrate strength in a particular medium.

For any questions about this fellowship or the application process, email GroundTruth Fellowships Manager Denise LiGreci at [email protected].

About GroundTruth

The GroundTruth Project is an independent, non-profit media organization dedicated to supporting a new generation of journalists to tell the most important stories of their generation. Our fellowships center on issues of social justice that matter for an increasingly interconnected world, including human rights, freedom of expression, emerging democracies, the environment, religious affairs and global health. GroundTruth is based in Boston at WGBH, the flagship PBS station.

Funding for this project is provided to GroundTruth by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the JMB Charitable Trust, the Bake Family Trust, the Solutions Journalism Network and individual donors to GroundTruth’s fund for “Crossing the Divide.”

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the web, including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a major supplier of programming for public radio, and Public Radio International (PRI) is an affiliated company. As a leader in educational multimedia for the classroom, WGBH supplies content to PBS LearningMedia, a national broadband service for teachers and students. WGBH also is a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to those with hearing or visual impairments. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors, including Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. More info at

Road with text overlay: Cross-country reporting fellowship "Crossing the Divide"