The RESP Fellowship

The Religion & Environment Story Project (RESP) trains journalists, editors, and public-facing scholars interested in the intersection of the environment and religion. Our goal is to bridge the divide between the religion and science beats, and promote new thinking and new narratives that will inform and educate the public, especially on the climate crisis. RESP is based at Boston University and funded by a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

About the Fellowship

The Religion & Environment Story Project Fellowship supports journalists, editors, and public-facing academics who are producing – or want to learn how to produce – stories at the intersection of religion and the environment. A cohort of ten fellows will gather twice over the course of six months for practical, on-the-job training designed to develop new ways of thinking about the climate crisis and the role played by religious individuals and institutions in addressing (and ignoring) it. Participants will meet with working journalists and scholars in a collaborative seminar environment that will include wide ranging discussions on religion, spirituality, the environment, climate change, and journalism. We hope this format will inspire and inform the participants while offering peer learning and support from other journalists. It should also provide expert sources and story leads that will help fellows identify and create stories that other journalists are missing. 

RESP will cover travel, food, and lodging for our two workshops. We will also pay for a year’s membership for the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) and the Religion News Association (RNA), plus registration fees for any SEJ and RNA conferences adjacent to our workshops. Fellows will also receive a stipend of $2,000 after completing the program and committing to produce at least one story for a general audience.  

Eligibility

Candidates should be U.S.-based journalists or editors (freelance or staff, in all media) who are interested in working on stories where religious and spiritual commitments overlap with environmental action (or inaction). Also invited to apply are U.S.-based college and university faculty members who actively write for general audiences. RESP is committed to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in journalism. We encourage applications from people of all backgrounds, races, genders, sexual orientations, and religions, as well as the non-religious. The RESP Fellowship is open to both emerging and established journalists. 

Workshops

Fellows will convene for two in-person workshops, in different locations, over the course of six months. These workshops will offer fellows educational and networking opportunities, as well as a chance to become part of a close cohort of working journalists. Additional gatherings will take place online. Workshops will be moderated by RESP co-directors Meera Subramanian, an award-winning environmental journalist, and Stephen Prothero, a best-selling author and Religious Studies professor at Boston University. At our workshops, fellows will meet with seasoned journalists and leading scholars working in religion and/or the environment. Weekend workshops will take place over the course of three days, starting with an opening dinner and followed by one-and-a-half days of programming, with abundant free time for informal conversations and cohort-building. Fellows will also receive training and resource materials in both Religious Studies and Environmental Studies. In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, we hope to meet immediately after the annual meetings of two of our partner organizations, the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Religion News Association.

Schedule

  • October 9-11, 2021: Annapolis, Maryland
  • April 3-5, 2022: Houston, Texas
  • Online events TBA

 Applicants should make sure that they will be able to attend both in-person workshops.

Application

Candidates should send the following materials together in one PDF to: resp@bu.edu:

  1. A cover letter (2 pages maximum) introducing yourself and your career and explaining why you are applying for the fellowship.
  2. A resume or CV of no more than 2 pages.
  3. Two samples of published, public-facing work.
  4. One letter of recommendation (sent separately from the recommender to (resp@bu.edu). For staff, this should be from a supervisor. For freelancers, it should be from an editor. Recommenders should explain what you will contribute to and derive from this program. Supervisors’ letters should explicitly state their support of the applicant’s participation in the program, including both workshops. Recommenders’ email subject line should include your full name.

Application Deadline

June 15, 2021, at 11:59 pm, ET. Fellowship recipients will be announced in mid-July.