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Fellowships to USA, Canada, and International Filmmakers, Journalists,
and Media Makers for Projects that Address Criminal Justice Issues

Soros Justice Fellowships - Media Fellowships

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Open Society Foundations

Deadline Date:

03/02/22 11:59 PM PST

Description:

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Fellowships to USA, Canada, and International writers, journalists, filmmakers, artists, and other media makers to conduct media projects that address issues and effect change related to the U.S. criminal justice system. Projects are intended to encourage the pursuit of vital if controversial topics, and may take any media form, such as documentary films, print and broadcast journalism, books, or digital media. The focus of the fellowship work will be to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated or under correctional control, challenge extreme punishment, and/or promote fairness and accountability in the criminal justice system.

The Soros Justice Fellowships fund outstanding individuals to undertake projects that advance reform, spur debate, and catalyze change on a range of issues facing the U.S. criminal justice system. The fellowships are part of a larger effort within the Open Society Foundations to reduce the destructive impact of current criminal justice policies on the lives of individuals, families, and communities in the United States by challenging the overreliance on incarceration and extreme punishment, and ensuring a fair and accountable system of justice.

The Soros Justice Media Fellowships support writers, print and broadcast journalists, artists, filmmakers, and other individuals with distinctive voices proposing to complete media projects that engage and inform, spur debate and conversation, and catalyze change on important U.S. criminal justice issues. The Media Fellowships aim to mitigate the time, space, and market constraints that often discourage individuals from pursuing vital but marginalized, controversial, or unpopular topics in comprehensive and creative ways. 

Types of Media:

Open Society will consider a wide range of media projects and products, including but not limited to: Print and broadcast journalism, documentary films, books, digital media, as well as projects that utilize a mix of platforms or mediums. Media projects do not need to reflect or endorse a particular viewpoint or position on any policy or practice that relates to criminal justice reform goals; and a wide range of perspectives and professional orientations will be accommodated. Open Society will consider work that remains decidedly neutral, as well as work that explicitly seeks to achieve or otherwise contribute to particular advocacy objectives. The overriding consideration is whether the project is likely to engage and inform, spur debate and conversation, or catalyze change.

Additional Requirements for Book and Documentary Film/Video:

  • Book projects must either have a publisher in advance of applying for the fellowship or demonstrate strong interest from publishers; and must include plans, during the term of the fellowship itself, to publish, broadcast, lecture, or otherwise reach audiences around work related to the subject matter of the book.
  • Documentary film or video projects must be in post-production or distribution stages; and must primarily seek support for the promotion, outreach, and audience engagement plan associated with the film/video. Research and pre-production film or video proposals are not eligible. 

There are two Media Fellowship tracks: Track I, which is for new and emerging media makers; and Track II, which is for more experienced individuals, i.e. those with at least ten (10) years of full-time work as a media maker. 

Open Society encourages applications that demonstrate a clear understanding of the intersection of criminal justice issues with the particular needs of low-income ommunities; communities of color; immigrants; LGBTQ people; women and children; and those otherwise disproportionately affected by harsh criminal justice policies, as well as applications for projects that cut across various criminal justice fields and related sectors, such as education, health and mental health, housing, and employment.

Open Society especially welcomes  applications from individuals directly affected by, or with significant direct personal experience with, the policies, practices, and systems their projects seek to address (e.g., applicants who have themselves been incarcerated, applicants who have a family member or loved one who has been incarcerated and whose fellowship project emerges from that experience, or applicants who are survivors of violence or crime).

Award amounts are all-inclusive, i.e. they are intended to cover a fellow’s living expenses, project-related expenses, travel, conference fees, health insurance, etc. This includes costs associated with attending fellowship-related conferences, gatherings or events that the fellowships program organizes.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 200407

Estimated Size of Grant:

- The award for Media Track I is $63,000
- The award for Media Track II is $85,000

Term of Contract:

Media Fellowships are one year in duration, and projects can begin anytime in the fall of 2022.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants are ideally full-time writers, print or broadcast journalists, filmmakers, artists, or other media makers, with well-established records of publication, exhibition/performance, dissemination, or broadcast in local, regional or national markets, or among targeted audiences or constituencies. Applicants who are not professional writers, journalists, filmmakers, or other types of media makers must demonstrate that they nonetheless have the experience and capacity to accomplish the project.

Media Track I applicants must have at least two (2) years of relevant full-time experience. Media Track II applicants must have a minimum of ten (10) years of relevant full-time experience. Applicants with fewer than 10 years of relevant full-time experience may nonetheless be considered for a Media Track II fellowship, provided they can demonstrate that they have truly distinguished themselves over the course of their careers.

All applicants must have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Requirements:
- Applicants must be able to devote at least 35 hours per week to the project if awarded a fellowship
- The project must be the applicant’s only full-time work during the course of the fellowship.
- Applicants may be based outside the United States, as long as their work directly relates to a U.S. criminal justice issue.
- Fellows cannot be full-time students during their fellowships.
- Past recipients of a Soros Justice Fellowship are not eligible to apply.

The fellowships do not fund the following:
- Enrollment for degree or nondegree study at academic institutions, including dissertation research
- Projects that address criminal justice issues outside the United States
- Lobbying activities, or projects that include lobbying activities

Pre-Application Information:

Timeline (dates subject to change):
- Application Deadline: March 2, 2022 (11:59 pm PST)
- Finalists Notified: April – May 2022
- Supplementary Materials Due: May – June 2022
- Finalist Interviews: June 2022 (All finalist interviews will be held via videoconference.)
- Selected Fellows Notified: July 2022
- Projects Must Begin: Fall 2022

Applications must be submitted online through the application portal. The online portal may be accessed at the URL for Full Text below starting on February 8, 2022.

Individuals can apply for one of two awards, Track 1 or Track 2, depending on the applicant’s level of experience.

The funding source reserves the right, at any stage of the application and selection process, to request that an applicant be considered for a fellowship category (Advocacy, Media, Youth Activist) or Media Fellowship track (Track I, Track II) different from the one for which the applicant applied.

Applicants who are uncertain whether some aspect of their proposed project fits within the parameters of the fellowships guidelines or whether the project is otherwise likely to be of interest may submit an email inquiry.

Up to three people can apply jointly for a single fellowship, but joint applications carry a single award. For joint applicants, the “full-time work” requirement does not apply to each applicant; instead, the applicants’ combined time spent on the project must be at least 35 hours per week.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Email inquiries to: sorosjusticefellowships@opensocietyfoundations.org

Open Society Foundations
224 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
212-548-0600

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Canada: Alberta;   British Columbia;   Manitoba;   New Brunswick;   Newfoundland and Labrador;   Northwest Territories;   Nova Scotia;   Nunavut;   Ontario;   Prince Edward Island;   Quebec;   Saskatchewan;   Yukon;

Israel

International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.

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