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Western Journalism and Media Fellowships

2016 media fellow Zack Colman of the Christian Science Monitor, right, talks to the science journalist and virtual reality specialist Anh Hoa Truong at the Bill Lane Center for the American West.

The Bill Lane Center for the American West has been supporting journalism about the West and its environment for a decade or more. Our Western Journalism and Media Fellowships provide opportunities for journalists working in all kinds of media — newspapers, magazines, radio, television, online, multimedia, video, film, data visualization and mapping, and books.

The fellowship enables journalists to:

  • visit Stanford and interact with researchers, scholars, and students;
  • develop or work on a project of their own design;
  • and spur new coverage and understanding of the American West.

The length of residence varies, typically from one week to three months, and we are particularly interested in supporting projects that:

  • intersect with ongoing research at the Center and Stanford;
  • address significant challenges facing the American West;
  • or explore promising new possibilities for journalism and the media in the region.

Travel and accommodation costs are covered, and a modest honorarium is offered.

Read more about our media fellowships: Producing a Collaborative Media Fellowship Model at Stanford.

To Apply

We offer a single media fellowship with a $5,000 stipend for three months’ work. The grant will fund a journalist illuminating crucial issues about the region.
Applications for our 2022 fellowship are being accepted on a rolling basis through the end of October 2021, and we will make our selection before Thanksgiving of 2021. The criteria are below. A plan to work with Stanford-based experts is not a requirement, but will ensure an application gets extra attention.
Criteria for acceptance:
  • The work should examine a crucial aspect of the West, its land, its people, its history, and the impact of the forces that power its economies
  • The applicant should have ties to a news organization which will guarantee serious consideration of publishing the work
  • Publication should happen within six months of the award, or by Oct. 31.
  • The work itself could be one or could be any combination of the following: print or online articles, photography or photo essays, informational graphics, podcasts, video journalism, documentary films, fact-based graphic novels or graphic documentaries.
Applications should go to Felicity Barringer, writer in residence at the Bill Lane Center for the American West:

Recent Media Fellows


Jim Robbins, Journalist
Support for a story on the hidden toll ozone is taking on forests and other vegetation. Ongoing research and informed speculation by scientists and land managers shows that ground-level ozone may have potentially harmful and long-term effects on ecosystem structure and function. Robbins is currently working on a piece that calls attention to this under-reported phenomenon, and examines the impacts of ozone on the West’s great trees and  forests, particularly the Bristlecone Pines, Sequoias and Redwoods.


Yereth Rosen, Journalist
Support for a series of stories in Arctic Today on the Bering Sea, covering a range of topics such as Bering Sea ice, Bering Sea mining, citizen science, the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea teleconnections. Learn more about her project here.


Michelle García, Journalist and Filmmaker
Support for commissioning and editing a special issue of the literary journal Guernica entitled “Rewriting the West,” about the nexus of race, Latinos, and the creation and culture of the U.S. West.


John Upton, Senior Science Writer, Climate Central
Support for travel and reporting to kick off Climate Central’s series “Breathing Fire” on the health effects of wildfire smoke. Stories appeared on PBS NewsHour, Kaiser California Healthline, Pacific Standard, and others.


Zack Colman, Knight Science Journalism Fellow and the Christian Science Monitor
Support for a six-part series in the Christian Science Monitor’s “Inhabit” section on solving water challenges in the American West.


Tay Wiles, High Country News
Reporting and archival document research exploring changing patterns in ranching on public lands, in the context of antigovernment protests like the Bundy Ranch standoff of 2013. Published in High Country News.

Elizabeth Zach, Rural Community Assistance Corporation
Support for the “Femme Farmer Project,” a series of profiles of women farmers and ranchers across the American West, a few decades into what USDA statistics show is a significant increase of women owned or operated businesses. Portions appeared in the Washington Post, High Country News, In These Times, Catholic Rural Life, and the Rural Community Assistance Corporation's website.


Martín QuirogaOpenFilter
Support for the development of a prototype Twitter filter for tracking western issues like water and public lands.

Mary Ellen Hannibalscience writer
Support for reporting and writing for the book Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction, published by Workman Publishing.


Mitch Tobin, EcoWest
Support for an environmental data analysis and resource website, and the development of a series of interactive dashboards tracking western environmental issues like wildfire, drought, precipitation, and snowpack.

Lauren Sommer, KQED Science
Reporting on climate change’s potential effect on Bay Area conservation lands, and collaboration with the Center on a simulator of possible land cover changes and an interactive history of open space conservation.


Kate GalbraithThe Texas Tribune
Reporting on public water supplies in Texas and collaboration on an interactive graphic exploring drought, water use, and pricing trends in Texas and nationwide.

Tony Gleaton, photographer
A series of photo portraits of black cowboys of the American West.

Lauren Sommer, KQED Quest
Reporting on a historical ecology project to recreate what the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta might have looked like before the advent of gold mining, land reclamation, and large-scale agriculture. A collaboration with the Center and the San Francisco Estuary Institute on a radio story and interactive multimedia map.

Duncan McCue, CBC News and John S. Knight Fellow, Reporting in Indigenous Communities
Support for the development of an online guide to reporting in Canada’s First Nations communities.


Jeremy Miller, Harper’s Magazine
Reporting, research, and field work tracing a historical mystery: was the work of a 19th century explorer and cartographer unfairly maligned because of a geographical misconception? Collaboration with the Center produced an interactive multimedia map to accompany the article in Harper’s Magazine.

John Fleck Albuquerque Journal
Reporting on negotiations among western states on Colorado River water supplies.

Lisa Hamilton, Real Rural
A project documenting life in rural California, published as an interactive multimedia website and series of public posters in Oakland, San Jose, and Los Angeles


Earlier Media Fellowships


Verlyn Klinkenborg, The New York Times
John Daley, KSL-TV


Timothy Egan, The New York Times
Peter Friederici, High Country News
Jesse Hardman, National Public Radio
Judy Pasternak, The Los Angeles Times
Kurt Repanshek, National Parks Traveler


Cristopher Grosskurth, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Steven G. Johnson, Veriscope Productions
Guillermo Lopez Portillo, Televisa
Ruben Moreno, La Opinion


Matt Jenkins, High Country News
Gabriela Olivares Torres, Zeta Magazine
Kat Snow, KQED
Ray Ring, High Country News