The Nieman Foundation selects up to 12 U.S. and 12 international journalists for Nieman Fellowships each year. Fellows selected include one U.S. citizen who reports on issues related to the field of business, and one U.S. citizen who works in community journalism, and at least one from the United States or abroad who proposes a project relating to journalism innovation.

The foundation also offers short-term Visiting Fellowships. Applicants need not be practicing journalists, but must demonstrate the ways in which their work at Harvard and the Nieman Foundation may improve the prospects for journalism’s future, whether related to research, programming, design, financial strategies or another topic. Applications for Nieman's 2014 Visiting Fellowships are due Nov. 8, 2013.

Applicants must be full-time journalists (including freelancers) with at least five years’ experience. Journalists may work for news or editorial departments of newspapers, wire services, radio, television, websites, online publications or magazines of general public interest. Photojournalists, editorial cartoonists, filmmakers, columnists and broadcast producers are also eligible.

For the Nieman-Berkman Fellowship in Journalism Innovation, individuals who work in fields that support journalism — such as the business or technology side of news companies — are also eligible to apply.

For the short-term Visiting Fellowship, applicants do not need to be practicing journalists, but must demonstrate in their project proposal how their work will impact journalism.

Any journalism-related work completed as a university student does not count toward experience. People who work in public relations or at organizations whose primary business is not the media are not eligible.

If appropriate, the applicant’s employer should approve a leave of absence for the academic year (10 months).

Within the past two years, an applicant should not have participated in a fellowship or taken a leave of absence from work that lasted four months or longer.

There is no nomination process. Candidates nominate themselves by submitting an application and supplementary materials. There is no age limit. There are no academic prerequisites and a college degree is not required.

After the candidates have been chosen, but prior to their confirmation as Nieman Fellows by the Harvard Corporation, each must agree in writing to the following four stipulations:
  1. To return at the end of the sabbatical year to the employer who granted the leave of absence.
  2. To refrain from professional work during the period of the fellowship.
  3. To complete all the work in at least two academic courses of their choice: one during the fall semester, the other during the spring semester.
  4. To remain in residence in the Cambridge area while classes are in session and to participate in Nieman seminars and events.