To download the fellowship application form (PDF), click here.
Who can apply for a fellowship?
The Alicia Patterson fellowships are open only to U.S. citizens who are fulltime print journalists, or to non-U.S. citizens who work fulltime for U.S. print publications, either in America or abroad. Freelancers are welcome to apply. All applicants, including those being considered for the new Cissy Patterson fellowship for environmental or science topics, should complete the Alicia Patterson Foundation application.The aim of the trustees who established the foundation was to improve the quality of U.S. print journalism. Foreign journalists seeking fellowship help may want to consult the annual list of contest and awards compiled by Editor and Publisher magazine in New York City. That issue is published the last week of December each year and can often be found in business libraries. The magazine sells individual copies of the issue for $6 on-line.
Beginning with the 2016 fellowship class, an additional fellow specializing in either science or environmental journalism will be added. This fellow will be designated as a Cissy Patterson fellow, in honor of Alicia's aunt, the publisher Cissy Patterson.
No special application is needed. All fellows apply for the Alicia Patterson fellowship and applications that deal with science or the environment will be considered for this additional fellowship. Science and environmental topics will continue to be awarded Alicia Patterson fellowships.
A complete, typed statement not to exceed three (3) single-spaced pages, on how you would use an Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship, and why. A brief summary of the four articles you will be required to write as an APF fellow should be included as part of your statement. Each candidate may submit only one proposal. Two applicants may collaborate on one proposal, for example, a writer and a photographer.
Submitting work samples
Reporters and Writers
1. Please submit three copies of three articles with publication date and place noted. To fit into the judges' packets, they must be kept to 8 1/2 x 11 inches. Either reduce longer articles by copy machine reduction or cut and paste articles on several 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of white paper. Reprints from databases are fine.
2. Number multiple pages of any article. Please don't use staples or fancy folders because we need to duplicate your material for the judges. You may submit originals or clear photocopies. Please don't send books or chapters of books.
3. Each part of series counts as one article, so it may be wise to choose only one part of a series and submit two other, unrelated articles in order to show diversity of topics.
4. Please do not submit any more than three articles. The judges will see only three and we'd rather you make the selection. The content of the articles, rather than date or place or publication, is most important.
Please send three copies of four samples of work you have edited, using the guidelines above. Attach a statement regarding your contribution to the finished product. If you also write, you may substitute two of your own articles in the four sample total.
Please submit one set of 8 to 12 samples. These can be published photographs or unmounted prints. No slides please. Samples cannot exceed 12 x 14 inches.
Please make sure the text from your printer is dark enough to generate readable pages when photocopied. Fancy presentation (folders, binding, plastic sheaths for articles, even paper clips) make our work harder. Also, fax copies do not reproduce well. Please don't wait until the last day because we cannot use fax transmissions.
Please write atop the application form whether you are applying for a 12 or 6 month fellowships. Note: judges on rare occasion have awarded a six month fellowship for an applicant requesting a 12-month grant.
Remember, all applicants must submit application, clips, essays and budget in triplicate, in three separate packets. Photographers submit only one set of their prints. Please arrange your materials in three identical groupings, i.e. each group includes one autobiography, one budget, and one set of clips or work samples.
Have four (4) persons who are familiar with your work and your proposal submit a letter of recommendation directly to the Foundation by October 1. There is no set template for the letters; please ask recommenders to write about your talents, ability to overcome obstacles, etc. Please list the names and addresses of your references on the application form.
A typed statement, not to exceed two (2) single spaced pages, to include reasons for going into journalism, journalistic experience, and future plans.
A detailed, typed budget statement, not to exceed one (1) page, to include two categories.
Projected fellowship Costs: Travel, books, short-term housing, etc.
Personal Maintenance: An estimate of living expenses for one year for yourself and your family (if any).
Where possible, list known costs; where not, estimate. Subtotal each category, then total both. At the bottom of your budget page, please indicate what funds, if any, would be available from other sources in support of your proposal fellowship year.
Application Hints and Advice
The foundation does not match salaries. The fellowship stipend is $40,000 for twelve months and $20,000 for six months and must cover your travel and research costs. You also must pay taxes on this income, which most fellows do by submitting quarterly payments to the IRS, as many freelancers do.
We ask that you submit a budget to see how you would accomplish your proposal. Although our project and living expenses may add up to more than the stipend, the Foundation only can provide either $20,000 or $40,000 to each fellow. If you are employed, it is customary for news organization to make up the difference between the stipend and your salary. Many newsrooms require applicants so seek approval of a leave before applying in order to receive the paper or magazine's financial support. Please check with your newsroom managers first. However, your employer's ability or willingness to give you support does not affect the selection process.
You will be notified during mid-November if you have been selected as a semi-finalist. Winners will be chosen during the first week of December. There usually are 5 to 7 fellows each year. Winners are expected to begin their fellowships within the first three months of the calendar year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. May I continue working if I win the fellowship?
A. The basic answer is no, as this is a full-time fellowship. We do let fellows engage in freelance writing, photography, etc. as long as the fellow fulfills his or her obligation to us first and are identified by the freelance outlet as an Alicia Patterson fellow. Fellows find they cannot teach or hold down time-consuming jobs and do justice to their projects.
Q. Who should I get to write letters of recommendation?
A. The judges are impressed by letters from people with a genuine knowledge of you and your work. Big names should not be sought for their own sake. Supervisors at work, journalism professors, editors, and experts in your field of inquiry are good sources, Letters from your agent, book editor and other with built-in conflicts aren't recommended. Recommender's letters should cover items such as your talents, ability to work independently, meet deadlines and accomplish a project of the scope you're suggesting. Please ask recommenders to get their letters to us by October 1st. The early rounds of judging begin just a few days after the deadline and judges only can evaluate the letters we have received. You are not penalized if your recommenders are a few days past October 1, but every year dozens of too-late letters are not seen by the judges. We consider your application complete if it contains three reference letters.
Q. May two people share a fellowship and work on a project together?
A. Yes, but only a single stipend is awarded per project. Each person should be responsible for two of the four letters of reference: three copies of two clips (for an application total of four) and their own biographical essay and application form. The proposal and budget should be a joint effort. If a writer and photographer apply, the writer should submit three clips and the photographer 8 to 12 samples, as described above.
Q. How do I get my photographs or original clips returned?
A. If you want them back, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope or mailing package large enough to hold them. We can only return one set of clips, as we keep the others on file. We will return them before the end of the calendar year.
Q. Must the foundation receive my application by October 1st?
A. Your application must be postmarked (or marked by FedEx, etc.) by October 1. Please send in your application early - we begin accepting them every June 1. Early submissions are much appreciated.
Q. Does the foundation fund book proposals?
A. The foundation is in the business of encouraging good print journalism - not underwriting books. However, we are aware that many fellows go on to write books about their fellowship subject. It is neither a plus or a minus to have a book contract or proposal before you apply, but we ask that you disclose any book advance in your budget. The main emphasis of your proposal to us should be the importance your topic has to the world of print journalism.
Where to Mail Your Application:
The Alicia Patterson Foundation
1100 Vermont Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20005