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Fellowships & Scholarships

If you need financial assistance to attend an IRE or NICAR event, we invite you to apply for one or more fellowships or scholarships. Assistance typically includes a one-year IRE membership and conference/seminar registration fees. Eligibility for IRE fellowships or scholarships renews every three years. For example, if you received a fellowship in 2018, you will be eligible again in 2021.

If you have questions or need more information about fellowships, please contact Chris Vachon.

How to apply

To make sure each applicant is considered for as many awards as possible, IRE uses a common application for fellowships and scholarships. Just make sure you meet the deadlines for the trainings you want to attend using the information below.

apply online

Tips for Applying

  • Start with our chart to find potential awards. You might be eligible for several and can usually re-use your materials.
  • Most awards are tied to an IRE training program. Some awards include options, letting the applicant select and apply for a specific conference or boot camp. Others include multiple training opportunities.
  • Sign up for email reminders. We’ll notify you every time a fellowship deadline is approaching. Get on the email list.
  • Keep applying. These awards are highly competitive, so don’t get discouraged if you’re not selected. Save your materials and re-apply the next time we take applications.

Fellowships & Scholarships

Data Journalism Bootcamps

Holly Whisehunt Stephen Fellowship — Established by IRE and WTHR-Indianapolis to honor Holly Whisenhunt Stephen, an award-winning journalist and longtime IRE member, who died in November 2008 after a long battle with cancer.

R-CAR Fellowship — Established by IRE member Daniel Gilbert to provide rural reporters with the skills that will help them uncover stories that otherwise would not come to light. The fellowship is offered in conjunction with The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.

Ottaway Fellowships — Established by David Ottaway and the Ottaway Family Fund, the Fellowship is aimed at increasing the diversity of IRE’s membership.

Knight TV Data Fellowship — Funded by the Knight Foundation to strengthen data watchdog skills at local TV stations across the United States.

Total Newsroom Training (TNT) Fellowships — The bootcamp training builds on the skills taught during TNT trainings.

Educator Bootcamps

Educator of Color Scholarships — Funded by the Lumina Foundation and Syracuse University to provide data training for college journalism educators to receive hands-on training as well as assistance with syllabus creation and teaching skills. 

Coding Bootcamps

Python Bootcamp Scholarship — Funding provided by the Park Foundation to strengthen coding skills for journalists, educators and students.

R Bootcamp Scholarship — Funding provided by the Park Foundation to strengthen coding skills for journalists, educators and students.

NICAR Conference

David Donald Fellowship for Data Journalism — The fund is named for the late David Donald, a former IRE training director who spread the gospel of computer-assisted reporting to thousands of journalists, educators and students around the world. The fund is designed to support computer-assisted reporting training to university educators so that they can better equip their students to be effective watchdogs through the use of data.

Jennifer Leonard Scholarship — Established by IRE member David Cay Johnston to honor his wife, Jennifer Leonard, the president of the Rochester Area Community Foundation and a national leader in promoting ethical standards for endowments.

Diversity Fellowships — The Diversity Fellowships are funded by the Philip L. Graham Fund, the IRE Diversity Development Fund and individual donors. The goal of the fellowships is to increase the diversity of IRE’s membership. 

Diversity Fellowships for Students — The Diversity Fellowships for Students is funded by the IRE Student Fund. The goal of the fellowships is to increase the diversity of IRE’s student membership.

IRE Conference

Jennifer Leonard Scholarship — Established by IRE member David Cay Johnston to honor his wife, Jennifer Leonard, the president of the Rochester Area Community Foundation and a national leader in promoting ethical standards for endowments.

Diversity Fellowships — The Diversity Fellowships are funded by the Philip L. Graham Fund, the IRE Diversity Development Fund and individual donors. The goal of the fellowships is to increase the diversity of IRE’s membership.

Diversity Fellowships for Students — The Diversity Fellowships for Students is funded by the IRE Student Fund. The goal of the fellowships is to increase the diversity of IRE’s student membership.

Napoli Management Group TV Scholarship — Established by the Napoli Management Group to assist aspiring early-career watchdog journalists who otherwise would not have the financial means to attend the IRE conference.

James Richard Bennett ScholarshipThe scholarship is made possible by Dr. James Richard Bennett, professor emeritus of English at the University of Arkansas. 

David Dietz FellowshipEstablished in 2011 for the late David Dietz, an award-winning journalist and a past president of IRE. The fellowship supports early career journalists who have a demonstrated interest in financial investigative reporting.

Godfrey Wells Stancill FellowshipEstablished by former IRE board member Nancy Stancill and her family in memory of her father, Godfrey Wells Stancill, who was an editor and publisher of the Suffolk (Va.) News-Herald. The fellowship supports journalists working for newspapers with a Sunday circulation below 50,000.

Eric B. Sager Scholarships — Established through an estate gift by the late Eric B. Sager, an IRE member from West Virginia, who worked mainly in trade publications.

Gary Marx ScholarshipEstablished by long-time IRE member David Jackson who established the Gary Marx Journalism Fund to honor a trusted Chicago Tribune colleague, Gary Marx, and hopefully to inspire the new generation of investigative reporters. 

Sponsored by other groups & organizations:

Mike Levine Journalism Education FundThe Mike Levine Journalism Education Fund was established to honor and memorialize Mike Levine, a columnist and executive editor of the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., who died in 2007. The fund is dedicated to helping journalists pursue “the news of the day with the compassion and craft that became the hallmark of Mike’s work.”

Dow Jones News Fund — The Dow Jones News Fund’s mission is to promote careers in journalism in the digital age. The organization believes the more exposure students have to professional media conferences, the more successful they will be in their careers, finding mentors and winning at journalism.

Other Fellowships

Freelance Fellowship — Created in 2008, the fellowships are awarded for project proposals which demonstrate impact, breadth and significance. Proposals that deal with whistleblowers, business ethics or privacy issues will be given priority. It is intended to support work that will be primarily be published in the U.S. and in outlets where the primary audience will be at least a part of the American public. 

IRE Journalist of Color Investigative Reporting Fellowship — The year-long program is intended to prepare and support a journalist of color for a solid career in investigative reporting. The program also provides an opportunity for the fellow’s news outlets to benefit from the fellow’s investigative skill-building. An underlying goal of the program is to increase the range of backgrounds, experiences and interests within the field of investigative journalism, where diverse perspectives are critically important. The fellowship is made possible by the generosity of IRE members and news organization sponsors. Learn more about the fellowship.

Support a Scholarship

Do you want to pay it forward by donating to an existing fellowship or scholarship? Do you value IRE training and want to see as many journalists, educators and students received invaluable training from IRE? It’s easy: Donate here and indicate your fellowship or scholarship of choice.

Are you interested in creating a new fellowship or scholarship? Contact Chris Vachon, director of partnerships, at chris@ire.org.

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