Call for Applications: Middle East Reporting Fellowship

Barelias, Lebanon January 22, 2016 - Credit: Christopher Lee

The GroundTruth Project is honored to announce a partnership with the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation to continue our Middle East reporting fellowship in Jim’s memory, and to extend the fellowship for the next five years.

The official name of the $10,000 fellowship is the James W. Foley Middle East Fellowship at The GroundTruth Project, which each year will support a freelance journalist who is seeking to report stories in the Middle East that are under-covered by the mainstream media. As part of the $10,000 grant, the journalist will receive a stipend and a budget that will include relevant risk assessment and Hostile Environment and First Aid Training as well as medical insurance and field reporting expenses.

GroundTruth’s Middle East reporting fellowship began five years ago when we first honored Anthony Shadid for his coverage of Middle East reporting in 2011. Since then, the list of fallen colleagues grew to include Marie Colvin, Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington. Sadly, that list ultimately included Jim Foley, who worked closely with us at GlobalPost and GroundTruth for several years before he was captured and then killed in Syria in 2014. We are now honored to name the fellowship for Jim.

Jim’s great strength, and a core of his legacy, is that he wrote about people with compassion. He showed us that despite and amid war, people still go on with their daily lives. Jim was all about public service journalism and all about honoring those who live through war, not just reporting on conflict. There is an important distinction — between covering people caught in war and covering conflict — that this fellowship seeks to honor.

“The Foley Foundation is pleased to collaborate with The GroundTruth Project’s mentorship of the next generation of journalists by continuing Jim’s legacy of courageous and insightful journalism amid conflict through the James Foley Middle East Fellowship at The GroundTruth Project,” said Diane Foley, Founder and Director of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation.

Our original funding for this fellowship came from The Correspondents’ Fund, and the organization has continued its support through this year. The list of past recipients of the fellowship is made up of promising emerging journalists, including Dalia Mortada, who produced an audio documentary and podcast titled “From Syria With Baklava,” and Jahd Khalil, who has just released his audio documentary and podcast about music of the Syrian diaspora titled “The Bandits Live On.”

For this year’s fellowship, we encourage applicants to present proposals for stories about education, health, culture, art, food, faith and other expressions of life in a region where too often reporters cover only conflict. While the last two years have focused on audio reporting, the fellowship is open to journalists working in all forms of media. This year, we are encouraging applications for writing. Field reporting may take place anywhere, but must maintain an enterprising and human-centered approach to the reporting.

The selected fellow will receive mentorship and editorial support from the whole editorial team at GroundTruth, including GroundTruth Founder and longtime Middle East correspondent Charles Sennott and Istanbul-based GroundTruth Editor/Middle East Correspondent Lauren Bohn.


The opportunity is intended for freelance writers and specifically for early career journalists, which we would define as 1-5 years of experience. The candidates may be of any nationality, but must be familiar with Middle Eastern culture and have a demonstrated ability to report for an English-speaking audience.

The selected fellow will receive a grant of US $10,000 for field reporting to be carried out preferably in the first quarter of 2018. Finalists will be asked to submit a proposed project budget that must include appropriate safety training, insurance and travel costs.

The fellows’ work will be cultivated on the GroundTruth website as a special report, as well as pitched to GroundTruth’s editorial partners for placement in consultation with the fellow. If a candidate already has an editorial partner who will take the work, please state that in the application.


The GroundTruth Project is dedicated to supporting a new generation of journalists to report on the most important stories of our time. GroundTruth is committed to narrative storytelling that enlightens and informs across media platforms, including digital, radio/podcast, television and documentary film. At the core of what we do is the idea of “ground truth,” which, put simply, means being on the ground to tell the story. GroundTruth, an independent, non-partisan organization registered by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is based at the PBS flagship producer WGBH in Boston, MA.

The mission of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation is to advocate for the safe return of all Americans detained abroad, to protect independent conflict journalists and to educate regarding these threats to our freedom.


Applications are welcome through this Google Form:

You will be asked to submit a resume, two samples of work, and a brief description of your reporting idea and how it fits with the spirit of this fellowship.

The application deadline has now passed.

For questions about the fellowship, email [email protected].