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The fellows meet at Middlebury in the fall and at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California in the spring. Photo by Bridget Besaw.

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Middlebury seeks applicants to environmental journalism program

February 1, 2013

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury College is accepting applications for the Middlebury Fellowships in Environmental Journalism, a program started in 2007 for working and aspiring journalists. In the spring the program’s administrators, including its director, environmentalist and writer Bill McKibben, will award fellowships to 10 reporters near the start of their careers, based on their proposals for stories on particular environmental issues. Graduate fellows each receive $10,000 to pursue their reporting projects. The fellows include up to two current Middlebury College seniors whose projects will contribute to senior work for their baccalaureate degrees.

“Today, so many stories we read relate to climate change and the environment, so we’re happy we can make this opportunity available to another crop of young reporters,” said McKibben, who is also Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College. Citing the New York Times’ announcement in January this year of the closure of its environmental desk, he added, “Clearly the need to tell these stories becomes greater every day.”

The fellows meet in the fall at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf campus in Ripton and the following spring at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, in California, with a prominent visiting reporter, McKibben, and the program’s associate director Christopher Shaw, a visiting lecturer in the Middlebury Department of English and American Literatures. There they plan intensive year-long reporting, edit finished stories, absorb the lore of journalism, and make important contacts with each other.

Past visiting reporters have included Ted Conover, Rebecca Solnit, Alan Weisman and William Finnegan. Stories by Middlebury fellows have appeared in a number of publications such as Virginia Quarterly Review, OnEarth, Orion, Grist, High Country News and Mother Jones. Topics have included the shale oil fields of North Dakota, increased fires in the interurban zone of the northern Rockies, and the circum-Atlantic extension of the Appalachian Trail.   

Fellows may pursue reporting projects for print, Web-based, or radio journalism. Applications should include a cover letter, a two-three page proposal that demonstrates that a story is strong enough to justify funding and that the writer has mastered the background information, a resume, two audio or writing samples, and two recommendations. The deadline for proposals is May 15, 2013. More information is available at and by contacting Emily Peterson at