The Reporting Fellowship Experience

Forging new paths to produce in-depth journalism and finding a community of fellows along the way

Last year in response to a public health crisis, newsroom upheavals, international travel restrictions and uncertainty around on-campus instruction, Wallace House adapted our fellowship model to address the remote needs of Covid-19, awarding eleven Reporting Fellowships for journalists to report on major issues in a moment of great challenge and change.

It is a first for our program, which since the 1970s has been built around bringing journalists from around the world together for a residential experience in Ann Arbor. This year we work weekly with our 47th class of Fellows from their workspaces in Colorado, Texas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, New York and Puerto Rico.

They gather with us remotely for seminars and workshops with university faculty and journalism change-makers. In spite of the confines of Zoom calls and virtual webinars, they’ve developed a supportive fellowship community. Beyond the scheduled activities, Fellows gather regularly in small groups or one-on-one, sharing tips, talking story structure and inspiring one another. Even remotely, the connection between our Fellows is palpable.

“The thing that surprised me most about the program is the interaction with other fellows, even in the remote model. It has been encouraging and inspiring.” Mya Frazier, Columbus, Ohio

Each Reporting Fellow is focusing on a project that requires several months to develop. For some, this working fellowship provides a chance to step back from fast turnaround work. For others, it offers a chance to develop something for a new media organization. And some are using the experience to experiment with new styles of storytelling or a new topic that they’ve wanted to explore.

“For me, the opportunity to spend nine months on a project is really unprecedented to be completely honest. It’s very rare to have that amount of time to really delve into one topic as a journalist.” – Alissa Figueroa, Baltimore, Maryland

While most of our fellows are working on long-form projects that will appear later in the year, some work has already been published as a result of the Reporting Fellowship.

With schools across the nation turning to distance-learning methods, Reporting Fellow Sindya Bhanoo reports on the large swaths of students being left behind. Sindya partnered with the non-profit news organization, Mission Local, to produce “Report Card,” her first illustrated audio piece. Using multimedia storytelling and poignant illustrations, the work is a touching look at the challenges faced by children during the continuing public health crisis. She is also developing a series for Texas Monthly. The first piece “You See So Much in Our Field You Wouldn’t Believe” chronicled San Antonio bus-drivers-turned-relief-workers delivering meals to the hungry in their communities.

Sindya Bhanoo rides along with bus driver, Bobby Richardson, as he delivers meals to families in need.

This year Reporting Fellow Ted Genoways is investigating how Covid-19 exposes threats to the nation’s food security and the risks posed to the safety of front-line food industry workers as well as consumers. In addition to developing his long-term project, Ted reported for The Washington Post feature “24 hours in the life of American workers.” From Nebraska, Ted profiled Eric Reeder, president of a food workers union, to tell of the hardships and barriers essential workers experience. With no end to the pandemic insight, these workers are faced with the ultimatum to continue to work in potentially unsafe conditions or risk losing the job.

The Reporting Fellowship has also benefited newsrooms by allowing them to partner with staffers or freelancers to pursue important editorial priorities. STAT News is partnering with Nicholas St. Fleur to create a new beat on the intersection of race, medicine and the life sciences. To date, Nick has published stories on the vaccine rollout and how Covid-19 disproportionately affects minority communities. In his role for STAT, Nick led a discussion with experts in a virtual event addressing how to prevent a black market for the vaccines.

Nicholas St. Fleur joined STAT News to cover the intersection of race and medicine and the life sciences.

The Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship is giving these journalists the flexibility and much-needed support to flourish within their space, produce journalism examining pressing issues, and be a part of the fellowship community that is a cherished hallmark of every Knight-Wallace class. As our Reporting Fellows continue on their fellowship journey we will be sure to share it with you.

We are repeating the remote fellowship for the upcoming academic year. Applications for the 2021-2022 Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship are now open. For more information on how to apply, please visit the apply page.

University of Michigan Announces the 2020-2021 Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellows


The University of Michigan announced today the Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellows for the 2020-2021 academic year. A cohort of 11 journalists from a range of backgrounds and experiences will participate in the newly created working fellowship, a reimagined Wallace House program designed to support ambitious reporting projects and adapted to the remote needs of Covid-19.

The Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowships will provide an academic year of support and collaborative learning for journalists to pursue and publish rigorous projects examining pressing public challenges ranging from the responses to the prolonged pandemic to persistent social justice issues surrounding race, ethnicity and inequality. Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellows will remain where they live while participating in weekly remote workshops, professional development sessions and seminars with University of Michigan faculty and experts.

“Finding a meaningful way to adapt our fellowship to meet this moment was essential. Directing our experience and resources toward direct support for journalists allows us to have an immediate impact in a moment when substantive reporting is of vital importance,” said Lynette Clemetson, Director of Wallace House. “The robust response we received to this newly structured Reporting Fellowship is a testament to the desire of reporters to serve the public and help move society forward.” 

The Reporting Fellowship is designed to benefit both working journalists and U.S. newsrooms. Each Reporting Fellow will pair with a local or national news organization to develop and publish their reporting project. The support of the fellowship allows news organizations to pursue ambitious journalism that they may not have the staff or funding to support independently.

“We are in an unprecedented time,” said LaSharah S. Bunting, Director of Journalism at Knight Foundation, a supporter of the fellowship programs. “These Reporting Fellowships allow individual journalists and news organizations to offer in-depth reporting to their communities on the critical issues of the day.”

Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellows will receive a stipend of $70,000 for the academic year plus an additional $10,000 in supplemental support to cover extra costs including health insurance, reporting equipment and supplemental travel-related expenses.

This adapted fellowship takes the place of the traditional, residential Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellows and their reporting projects:

Lisa Armstrong, multimedia journalist and associate professor, New York City
Reporting Project: Covid-19 in Correctional Facilities
for The Marshall Project

Sindya Bhanoo, independent reporter, Austin, Texas
Reporting Project: Distance Learning and Inequality in Public Schools
for Mission Local

Valeria Collazo Cañizares, investigative journalist, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Reporting Project: Waterless Island: Converging Crises and the Water Shortage in Puerto Rico
for Telemundo

J. Lester Feder, independent journalist, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Reporting Project: Inequality and the Transformation of the Cities and Suburbs of the Midwest

Alissa Figueroa, senior editor and producer, Baltimore, Maryland
Reporting Project: Police Reform Five Years After the Death of Freddie Gray
for Type Investigations

Mya Frazier, independent business reporter, Columbus, Ohio 
Reporting Project: Private Power: The Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Working Poor
for Bloomberg Businessweek

Ted Genoways, independent writer and producer, Lincoln, Nebraska
Reporting Project: Food Security and Worker Safety on the Front Lines of the Pandemic

Mario Koran, contributing reporter, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Reporting Project: Barriers to Learning in Three Marginalized School Districts Upended by the Pandemic
for The Guardian US

Chris Outcalt, independent magazine writer, Denver, Colorado  
Reporting Project: The Powerful Forces Behind Medical Fraud

Nicholas St. Fleur, independent science reporter, Palo Alto, California 
Reporting Project: Racial Bias in Science, Health, and Medicine
for STAT

Mazin Sidahmed, co-executive director of Documented, New York City 
Reporting Project: The Role of Local Police in Federal Immigration Enforcement
for Documented

More about the Reporting Fellows and their reporting projects »

Read the Reporting Fellowship news announcement »

About Wallace House

Wallace House at the University of Michigan is committed to fostering excellence in journalism. We are home to programs that recognize, sustain and elevate the careers of journalists to address the challenges of journalism, foster civic engagement and uphold the role of a free press in a democratic society. We believe in the fundamental mission of journalism to document, interpret, analyze and investigate the forces shaping society.

About Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit

Announcing the Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship

Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship

A Working Fellowship for Ambitious Journalism on an Evolving Future


Each year the Knight-Wallace Fellowships at the University of Michigan summon journalists from around the world to think boldly about their craft and enhance their skills to meet the needs of a changing industry. Alongside the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, lingering inequality and social strife are fueling calls for systemic change. The need for rigorous, in-depth journalism is ever more critical. In response, Wallace House is redirecting our resources to fuel ambitious journalism on these converging forces and efforts toward a reimagined world.

For the coming academic year, we are turning our Knight-Wallace Fellowship model outward, to fund long-term reporting projects examining momentous challenges and responses in this year of converging crises. We’ll select a cohort of ten accomplished journalists with different backgrounds and experience for a working fellowship to report on our most pressing issues, from social shifts precipitated by the pandemic to persistent social justice issues surrounding race, ethnicity and inequality.

The Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship will take the place of our traditional, residential Knight-Wallace Fellowship for the 2020-21 academic year in response to continued uncertainty about close gathering and in-person instruction. Selected Fellows will not be required to leave their news organizations or places of work. This adapted fellowship will maintain our multidisciplinary approach and cohort-based philosophy.

The Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship will provide a $70,000 stipend over eight months plus $10,000 to support supplemental costs for reporting projects to be produced during the period of the fellowship. Our ten Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellows will also receive professional development and digital seminars with researchers and experts tackling challenges across a range of fields and disciplines. Fellows will have remote access to research and resources at the University of Michigan and regular opportunities for engagement with faculty and students.

We want to encourage ambitious reporting projects that step back from breaking and incremental coverage. As the world grapples with huge questions and complex solutions, we need journalists to investigate, scrutinize, analyze and explain the process and outcomes. 

When in-person gathering becomes possible and we can ensure a safe experience for our Fellows, we will host one-week Fellowship Cohort sessions in Ann Arbor at Wallace House and a final symposium on campus at the University of Michigan, highlighting the reporting work produced during the fellowship.

Applications must be submitted by July 7. Reporting Fellowship offers will be extended on July 31.


A Focus on In-Depth Reporting

Published or produced work is a requirement of the fellowship. Applicants must submit a detailed reporting proposal related to the seismic challenges we now face. The output should match the proposed project and form of journalism. For instance, a documentary filmmaker might complete one film during the period of the fellowship; a long-form magazine writer might produce one or two published pieces; a community-based or enterprise reporter might produce a project that appears weekly or monthly. 

Areas of focus can include but are not limited to science and medicine, the economy, law and justice, business, race and ethnicity, education, inequality, technology, the environment, and entertainment and recreation. Areas of coverage can be local, national or global.

The fellowship is not intended to support daily beat reporting that would be produced regardless of fellowship support. It is also not intended for book writing.

All work produced during the fellowship will be owned by the media organization for which it is produced and will carry an agreed-upon acknowledgment of support by the Knight-Wallace Fellowships for Journalists at the University of Michigan.  

The program is open to staff, freelance and contract journalists. All applicants must have at least five years of reporting experience and be either a U.S. resident or hold a U.S. passport.  


The Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year is a working fellowship featuring

  • An eight-month program focused on supporting ambitious, in-depth, innovative journalism projects examining our most pressing public challenges from social shifts precipitated by the pandemic to persistent social justice issues surrounding race, ethnicity and inequality
  • A remote structure that allows staff reporters to remain with their news organizations and freelancers to remain in their place of work
  • A cohort of ten Fellows selected from a pool of experienced journalists from a variety of beats and expertise 
  • A $70,000 stipend to support reporting and fellowship participation dispersed monthly from September 2020 through April 2021
  • An additional $10,000 in supplemental support to cover extra costs including health insurance, reporting equipment and travel-related reporting expenses
  • Weekly remote seminars with University of Michigan faculty and subject matter experts from a wide range of fields
  • Professional development and supplemental skills workshops
  • Subject to public-health guidance, one-week Fellowship Cohort sessions held at Wallace House on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor with travel, lodging and hosting expenses covered by the program
  • A year-end symposium at the University of Michigan highlighting work produced during the fellowship 

Application Deadline is July 7, 2020.

Applications are now open. The deadline to apply is at 11:59 pm ET on Tuesday, July 7. 

The Reporting Fellowship offers will be extended on Friday, July 31.


An Invitation to Learn More

For more information on the fellowship and how to apply, Wallace House Director Lynette Clemetson, and Associate Director Robert Yoon will hold a Q&A webinar at 12:30 pm ET on June 19.  We encourage interested applicants to join the call and ask questions. Newsroom editors who would like to know more about this opportunity for reporters on their team are also invited to join.

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More About the Reporting Fellowship

Who Should Apply

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