|Founder||Ben L. Yablonky|
|Purpose||Allows mid-career journalists time to reflect on their careers and focus on honing their skills|
|University of Michigan|
|Affiliations||Livingston Awards for Young Journalists|
|NEH Journalism Fellowship (1973–1979)
Journalists in Residence (1979–1984)
Michigan Journalism Fellowship (1984–2002)
The Knight-Wallace Fellowship (previously known as the NEH Journalism Fellowship and the Michigan Journalism Fellowship) is an award given to mid-career journalists at the University of Michigan. Knight-Wallace Fellowships are awarded to reporters, editors, photographers, producers, editorial writers and cartoonists, with at least five years of full-time, professional experience in the news media.
The fellows attend mandatory seminars twice weekly, and each fellow pursues an independent study plan which involves auditing University of Michigan classes and working with a faculty advisor. International travel is an important part of the fellowship, with annual trips to Argentina, Brazil, and Turkey.
The Michigan Journalism Fellows program, funded by National Endowment for the Humanities and modeled on Harvard's Nieman Fellowship, was established in 1973. The founding director was Ben L. Yablonky (1910–1991), a labor activist and University of Michigan journalism professor (as well as a former Nieman Fellow). The fellowship program was initially run out of the University of Michigan journalism department. In 1979, the journalism department was disbanded, and the fellowship was moved to the auspices of the university's Literature, Science and Art department. At this point, the program was known as Journalists in Residence.
In 1980, Graham B. Hovey (1916–2010), a former New York Times journalist, succeeded Jablonky as program director, serving until 1986. (The program hosts an annual lecture named in Hovey's honor and delivered by a former fellow; 2015 was the 30th Graham Hovey Lecture.) From 1984–2001, the program was again known as the Michigan Journalism Fellowship.
Charles R. Eisendrath, a former fellowship recipient (1974–1975) and Time magazine staff writer, had joined the University of Michigan's faculty after his fellowship, directing its master’s program in journalism. In 1981 he became founding director of the Livingston Awards, also run out of the University of Michigan. In 1984, Eisendrath joined a committee (led by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation) to increase the program's endowment, which was gradually losing its NEH support under the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Eisendrath took over as program director in 1986 upon Hovey's retirement. At that point the program's endowment was down to $30,000. The Washington Post's publisher, Katharine Graham, was an early donor, as was the Knight Foundation. Eisendrath also recruited the assistance of renowned journalist (and University of Michigan alumnus) Mike Wallace, who became an active proponent of and financial donor to the program. In 1992, Wallace and his wife Mary donated the Arts and Crafts-era Wallace House to the program, which became its headquarters, and in 1995, Wallace gave the program $1 million. Wallace made regular appearances at Wallace House, giving seminars and meeting with fellows, until shortly before his death in 2012. By this time, the fellowship was being administered by the University's Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.
Before becoming fully endowed the program would travel to Toronto and meet with the Massey College Journalism fellows, to Chicago to meet with Chicago Tribune journalists, and to Atlanta to visit CNN. The program began traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2000, and added a component in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2009. An annual trip to Istanbul, Turkey, was added in 2005. (In 2009 and 2010 the program went to Moscow, Russia; instead of Istanbul.) In 2013 a trip to Alberta, Canada, became part of the program.
In 2002, the Knight Foundation awarded a $5 million challenge to the program, establishing fellowships for international journalists (which usually include journalists from Argentina's Clarín and Brazil's Folha de S. Paulo, in exchange for their organization's hosting work on the fellowship trips). Mike Wallace provided $1 million in matching funds, and the program was renamed the Knight-Wallace Fellowship.
In 2015, the fellowship program and the Livingston Awards were rebranded as Wallace House.
In October 2015, after nearly 30 years as director, KWF director Charles R. Eisendrath announced his retirement, effective July 1, 2016. A search committee led by journalist Ken Auletta and University of Michigan Engineering professor Thomas Zurbuchen selected his replacement. In April 2016, former KWF fellow Lynette Clemetson was named next director of Wallace House.
Between 18 and 20 fellowships are awarded annually; generally 12 to Americans and 6 to 8 to foreign journalists. (Relationships with the BBC, Argentina's newspaper Clarín, Brazil's Folha de S. Paulo, and South Korea's Shinyoung Journalism Fund of the Kwanhun Club guarantee international fellows from the above newspapers.)
Specific fellowships include:
- David B. Burke Fellowship in General Studies
- Time Warner Fellowship for Minority Journalists
- Mike Wallace Fellowship in Investigative Reporting
- Benjamin R. Burton Fellowship in Broadcast Journalism
- Ford Fellowship in Transportation Technology and Environment
- Karsten Prager Fellowship in International Reporting
- Benny Friedman Fellowship in Sports Journalism
- William C. Richardson Fellowship for Public Policy and Philanthropy
- Knight Specialty Reporting Fellowships
While the program initially limited its fellowships to full-time salaried journalists, in the 2010s, as the journalism industry went through so many changes, it increasingly began opening its doors to freelancers.
The program specifies that funders have no input on the selection of the endowed fellowships.
In 2000, fellows received a stipend of $40,000.
Currently, the annual stipend is $70,000 plus university tuition and health insurance.
Notable Knight-Wallace Fellows
- Henry Allen (KW'76) — Pulitzer Prize-winner for photography criticism
- Mike Baker (KW'00) — BBC writer and presenter
- Barry Bearak (KW'81) — Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent
- Kate Brooks (KW'13) — photojournalist
- Russell Carollo (KW'90) — Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist
- Richard Deitsch (KW'09) — sports reporter and sports media critic
- Faye Flam (KW'05) — science writer
- Dan Froomkin (KW'96) — Washington correspondent and blogger
- Charles Gibson (KW'74) — broadcast television anchor and journalist
- Dan Gilmore (KW'87) — technology writer and columnist
- Donovan Hohn (KW'13) — author and essayist
- Amber Hunt (KW '12) — journalist and true-crime author
- Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. (KW'92) — columnist and editorial writer
- Josh Neufeld (KW'13) — comics journalist
- Nick Perry (KW'12) — Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author
- Jim Russell (KW'74) — radio producer
- Harry Siegel (KW'11) — editor and editorial writer
- Tom Stanton (KW'96) — nonfiction author and editor
- David Suter (KW'78) — editorial illustrator
- Michael Vitez (KW'95) — Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author
- Nieman Fellowship (Harvard University)
- John S. Knight Fellowship (Stanford University)
- Livingston Award
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- Knight-Wallace Fellows at Michigan. "Past Fellows: 1995-1996". Retrieved on 2008-08-02.
- "Past Fellows: 1977-1978," Archived 2015-10-28 at the Wayback Machine. Knight-Wallace Fellows at Michigan website. Accessed Dec. 2, 2015.
- "Former Journalism Fellow wins Pulitzer Prize," The University Record (April 22, 1997).