Bill Lane Center Media Fellow speaks with a Stanford specialist

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...

Media Fellowships

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:

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

We are particularly interested in supporting projects that:

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

A modest honorarium is offered.

To Apply

We offer a single media fellowship with a $5,000 stipend for three months’ work. Half of the grant is dispensed when the fellow is selected and the other half upon publication of the story. The award will fund a journalist illuminating crucial issues about the region.

The application period for our 2024 fellowship will commence September 12, 2023, and we will accept applications through October 9, 2023. We will make our selection by mid-November 2023, with the expectation that journalists will publish their work in the spring of 2024.  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; the Bill Lane Center is not responsible for securing publication
  • Publication should happen within six months of the award, or by May 15, 2024
  • 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 include a description of the proposed project, a brief resume and the name of the news organization or other outlet through which the work would be distributed. Email the above to Felicity Barringer, writer in residence at the Bill Lane Center for the American West: febarr [at] (subject: Web%20inquiry%20about%20BLC%20Media%20Fellowships) (febarr[at]stanford[dot]edu)

Recent Media Fellows

Janet Wilson headshot

2022-2023: Janet Wilson, Journalist

Janet Wilson is a veteran environment reporter covering the California desert for The Desert Sun and USA Today network, including climate change, water, energy and public lands. Her favorite reporting melds document-driven findings with real people and their stories. She has won multiple awards, including from the California Newspaper Publishers Association for investigations of shoddy oil regulators, a team Pulitzer Prize for wildfire coverage and a Nieman fellowship for reporting on juvenile violence in Detroit. She lives at the doorstep of the Cleveland National Forest, and she and her husband are section backpacking the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails. With support from the Bill Lane Center, Wilson plans to examine the uses of water in the desert.

Julia Simon headshot

2022-2023: Julia Simon, Climate Reporter

Julia Simon was named NPR's new climate solutions reporter in November of 2022. She has been a frequent contributor to NPR’s climate change desk where her reporting airs on "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered." She’s also a regular contributor to NPR’s "Planet Money," "The Indicator," "Life Kit," "Shortwave," and other NPR podcasts. In addition to her radio work, she spent time in print as a staff reporter at Reuters covering the energy economy. Her reporting for "Planet Money" about the history of antitrust was a finalist for the Gerald Loeb Award in business journalism. Simon spent much of her career reporting from the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia and is now based in California. The Bill Lane Center fellowship will enable Simon to report on mining ventures across the West in the context of climate change.

Keith Schneider is the recipient of our 2021-2022 fellowship, which he used to produce a three-part investigative series on extreme heat, drought, and "water supply peril" in Arizona. He has spent more than three decades covering energy, environmental, water, and land-use issues for numerous national and international publications. He was on the New York Times staff for a decade and remains a special correspondent; he is also chief correspondent for the water-centric publication Circle of Blue and spent six months recently doing environmental reporting for The Los Angeles Times.

Support for two stories, one on a famous redwood tree, El Palo Alto, after which the city is named. This piece was published in the New York Times in June of 2021. A second story about the threat ozone pollution poses to biodiversity was published in Yale Environment360 in October of 2021, and in High Country News in November of 2021. It earned Robbins the Colorado Society of Professional Journalists Top of the Rockies award.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' piece 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.

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. 

2018 - 2019: 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.

2017: 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 NewsHourKaiser California HealthlinePacific Standard, and others.

2016: Zack Colman, Knight Science Journalism Fellow

Support for a six-part series in the Christian Science Monitor’s “Inhabit” section and An Oroville Message: As Climate Shifts, So Will Water Strategies on solving water challenges in the American West.  His other work includes Why Solar Panels Bloom in Southwest's Land of Hydropower

2015 - 2016: 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 PostHigh Country NewsIn These TimesCatholic Rural Life, and the Rural Community Assistance Corporation's website.

2015 - 2016: 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.

2014 - 2015: Martín Quiroga, OpenFilter

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

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

2013 - 2014: 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.

2013 - 2014: 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.

2012 - 2013: 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.

2012 - 2013: Duncan McCue, CBC News and John S. Knight Fellow

2012 - 2013: Tony Gleaton, photographer

A series of photo portraits of black cowboys of the American West.

2012 - 2013: Kate Galbraith, The 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.

2011 - 2012: John Fleck Albuquerque Journal

Reporting on negotiations among western states on Colorado River water supplies.

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

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.

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


Christopher Grosskurth, CBC Radio
Steven G. Johnson, Veriscope Productions
Guillermo Lopez Portillo, Televisa
Ruben Moreno, La Opinión


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