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"We're impressed by applications that are sincere, that show there's been a lot of thought put into the essays and where the applicant demonstrates a genuine passion for their work and for learning, because that's really what this [year's program] is about," said Ann Marie Lipinski, curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.
The Nieman Foundation awards several fellowships each year, including its flagship Nieman Fellowships, which allow journalists to spend an academic year studying at Harvard while receiving a healthy stipend in addition to tuition and other benefits. Meanwhile, John S. Knight Fellowships give journalists the opportunity to study at Stanford, Knight-Wallace fellows study at the University of Michigan, Knight-Bagehot fellows study at Columbia, and several organizations, including the International Center for Journalists and East-West Center, offer shorter-term fellowships as well, often focusing on subjects or geographical regions.
Regardless of the program you're applying for, here's how you can stand out in an increasingly competitive crowd.