Work Sample Criteria
When is the application due?
Applications are due July 1, no later than 11:59 PM EST. [top]
How will I know that my application has been received?
We will notify applicants of successful application receipt by July 6. Incomplete applications will not be considered. [top]
What if I have tried to submit an application, but I don't receive confirmation by july 6?
If you haven't heard from us by July 6, we have not received your application. Please reach us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can investigate. [top]
When will I be notified?
We will notify all applicants of selection status by July 31. [top]
When will the fellowship start?
The fellowship usually starts in the fall, with dates determined according to the fellow’s schedule and any story constraints. Ideally, travel will be completed by January, with pieces airing by May. [top]
What work experience is required of fellows?
The Above the Fray fellowship is designed for those in the formative stages of their radio careers who have demonstrated an ability to report foreign stories independently. Applicants must have at least three (3) but no more than five (5) years of professional journalism experience, with some radio experience.
For the purposes of totaling your work experience to determine whether you are eligible, freelance work should be counted; internships should not. [top]
What citizenship is required of fellow?
The fellowship is intended for US journalists. Applicants must be authorized to work in the US and travel internationally. All applicants must also be fluent in English, and all work samples must be in English. [top]
I live abroad. Am I eligible?
No. The fellowship is intended for US-based journalists who aspire to report internationally. [top]
Are there minimum and maximum age limits for fellows?
What are the criteria for the pitch?
Your pitch should take us to places the mainstream media has not, but a pitch is much more than just a region of the world.
It should be timely: why does this story need to be told now? It should be original: surprise us with a story we haven’t heard, an angle that hasn’t been addressed. It should be well-reported: your pitch is a litmus test for how we can expect you to cover a story.
Above all, the story you pitch should have the capacity to transport the audience to places they have not experienced, to expose them to voices they have not heard. It should be specific enough to articulate the types of people and places you expect to visit over the course of reporting the story, yet broad enough to adapt once the story veers off course (the best ones often do).
Your pitch should identify multiple characters and a story line that will develop over the three-month duration. We do not expect that you will be able to anticipate every perrmutation of what you will report, but we should have a good sense of the target.
In many ways, a good pitch is as much about raising good questions as it is about predicting the answers. [top]
I have multiple pitch ideas. May I submit multiple pitches?
No. One application per applicant, please. If you are torn between two stories that you would like to pitch, pick your favorite. [top]
Can I pitch a story from a conflict zone?
No. We insist on keeping our fellows safe from harm and will not send them to dangerous locations. All pitches must be approved by NPR security. [top]
Can I pitch a story about my personal family history?
I have a great story idea, but I see that NPR already has a correspondent in the location that I would like to cover. Should I pick a different one?
Yes. Unless you feel that the content of your work would be substantially different from the reporting currently offered by an existing NPR correspondent, you will fare better if you select a different region. [top]
I have a great story idea, but I see that a former fellow has already covered something similar. Should I pick a different one?
Yes. Above the Fray aims to expose listeners to a diversity of locations and topics. Your best bet is to pick something distinct from the work of recent fellows. [top]
Do work samples need to have been published/aired?
Work samples should demonstrate your ability to report an NPR-caliber radio story. Ideally, they will be audio stories that have aired or been published online.
We will also consider polished, professional radio pieces that have not aired but that are indistinguishable from broadcast-quality work. Work samples must feature your voice; pieces that you have produced are not considered reporting clips. [top]
May I upload writing clips as work samples?
No. On-air clips should be audio pieces. [top]
Do work samples need to be in english?
Yes. All work samples must be in English. [top]
What if I don't have a link to a work sample?
We cannot accept work samples as attachments. Please use a third party site like Dropbox or Hightail to create a link to include in your application. All links must be valid for three months. [top]
Who makes a good reference?
Above the Fray is not about finding the most experienced candidate, it's about taking a chance on someone promising, so we place a lot of stock in references. Pick mentors who believe in you, know your work well and can tell us why you are poised for the challenge.
Professional references only; no personal references. [top]
When will you contact my references?
We will contact references for many, but not all, applicants. Please let your references know that we may be in touch in mid-July for response by end of month. If your reference will be unreachable during that time frame, pick someone else. [top]
How do I submit an application?
It's easy. Include all six application components listed here in a single PDF. Save the file with your name in this format: ATF_2016_Last_First.pdf.
Email your PDF to us at email@example.com. Be sure to also include elements 2-6 as plain text in the body of your email (everything but your resume, in other words).
The 2016 mailbox is for application submissions only. One email per applicant, please. [top]
How are fellows selected?
Applications are reviewed by a selection committee consisting of the John Alexander Project directors, board of advisors and NPR. Finalists are interviewed jointly by the John Alexander Project and NPR in Washington, DC. [top]
May a fellow also be reporting for their employer or freelancing?
No. While reporting as an Above the Fray fellow, you will be on exclusive assignment with the John Alexander Project and NPR and should not report for other outlets. [top]
Are fellows required to produce a news story at the end of the fellowship?
It is our hope and expectation that fellows will produce at least one piece to air before the fellowship is over, however we expect that fellows will constantly be pitching stories for consideration for NPR’s air and website. Pitches will be directed to the appropriate desk and editor.
Additionally, if the fellow discovers ancillary stories during the course of the fellowship, or if news breaks at or near their location, fellows will be available for coverage as necessary. [top]
Is NPR guaranteed to air my work?
No. As with any other correspondent, NPR is under no obligation to air or publish material that does not meet its standards. [top]
What costs does the fellowship cover?
Fellows will be awarded up to $24,000, disbursed at predetermined intervals, to cover production expenses for the duration of the fellowship—travel, lodging, equipment, interpreters, local transportation, including a stint in Washington, DC, for immersion at NPR before being deployed.
Once selected, it is up to the fellow to draw up a budget for final approval. [top]
Does the program provide security?
The John Alexander Project cannot cover stories that require security personnel for the fellow. Please choose a region to tell a story where such protection is not required. [top]
Does the program provide health insurance?
Health insurance coverage is the responsibility of each fellow. We encourage you to ensure that your current plan will offer continuing coverage. [top]
We’re learning as we go, so we may have missed something. Send us an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org