In an effort to extend the legacy of Michael Hastings, who died tragically in 2013, BuzzFeed News will sponsor an annual, year-long fellowship for reporting that honors Michael’s fearless example. The second fellowship will be awarded this fall.
The Michael Hastings Fellowship is for proven journalists with strong sources and major stories to their credit who are interested in focusing for a year on a single subject consistent with Michael’s reporting career, and producing a series of stories on that topic. Proposed topics may include American foreign and national security policy; federal or local counterterrorism policy; the U.S. military; whistleblowers; the “war on drugs”; government secrecy; federal law enforcement; the military-industrial or security-industrial complex; veterans; the border; human rights in conflict zones; and other related topics.
The fellow will also have a demonstrated ability to challenge powerful institutions, and a clear vision for a project that tells stories that those in power have no particular interest in having told. The reporter’s background may be in investigative journalism; or it may, like Michael’s, be in powerful narrative journalism; or it may be a combination of the two.
The product of the fellowship — which can be as few as a half-dozen stories, or as many as dozens, and which could also ultimately result in a book — will be published by BuzzFeed News on BuzzFeed.com. The reporter will work with BuzzFeed News’ senior editorial staff, and may be based in New York or elsewhere.
The fellow will receive a stipend of $85,000, plus benefits and related expenses for one year.
Michael Hastings, who died at age 33, wrote stories that would not otherwise have been written, and found emotionally gripping ways to tell stories about vital policy decisions. He wrote for a wide range of new and old media outlets, from Newsweek to Gawker to GQ. His best-known piece, 2010’s “The Runaway General” in Rolling Stone, raised questions about the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan, prompted the dismissal of the top American commander there, and sped the end of the U.S. engagement in that conflict. He then covered the 2012 election campaign and Hollywood for BuzzFeed. He was the author of three books.
The first Michael Hastings National Security Reporting Fellow, Gregory Johnsen, has written widely acclaimed coverage of the uses and limits American power after Sept. 11, 2001, including “60 Words And A War Without End: The Untold Story Of The Most Dangerous Sentence In U.S. History.” Johnsen will join BuzzFeed’s foreign desk as a staff correspondent after the conclusion of his fellowship.
2. Application Procedure:
Please submit the following materials by Nov. 1, 2014, as attachments or links to email@example.com. Applications will be considered by BuzzFeed News’ editors and the grant will be awarded by Jan. 1. The fellowship is a full-time position. Current and former BuzzFeed employees may apply but will not be given special preference. Applicants must be authorized to work in the United States.
3. Application Materials:
1. Résumé or CV
2. Five stories you feel are representative of your best work
3. Project proposal: Please explain in detail, in separate sections:
a. The broad outline of the topic you propose approaching.
b. The specific stories you intend to write, how many, and on what schedule.
c. Why this project will consume a full year.
d. How this project can be completed in only a year.
e. Why you are qualified and capable of doing work others haven’t or can’t.
f. How this project is consistent with Michael Hastings’ legacy.
4. Three letters of recommendation: Please have your referees email their letters directly to us at firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line “Candidate’s Last Name Reference.” Your referees should attest to your knowledge of your subject matter and your professional abilities, and your capability to do work that enlarges readers’ understanding of the chosen topic.