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2021 Open Call for Documentary Magazine Editorial Fellows

By Tom White

Documentary magazine cover header with text: paid fellowship for writers from underserved & underrepresented communities

In its ongoing mission to serve, empower and engage a diverse range of voices, perspectives and experiences from the documentary community, the International Documentary Association (IDA) is calling for applications for its Documentary Magazine Editorial Fellowship program

Funded in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, this fellowship is designed to enhance opportunities for writers from underserved and underrepresented communities to participate in the editorial planning process at and contribute content to Documentary magazine, the only US publication dedicated solely to documentaries, available via print and online. This program will, in turn, help IDA to enrich its editorial content, furthering and deepening an ongoing community-wide conversation about the nonfiction form and the issues and themes that are driving the documentary profession. Our past Fellows have gone on to write for Documentary and other publications, work at media arts organizations, and continue to try to shift the power dynamics operating within the larger documentary industry.

The second edition of the fellowship program will provide stipends of $3,000 each for four emerging writers and will include eight mentorship sessions from January through December 2022. 

The Fellows will:

  • Participate in editorial meetings

  • Pitch, write and deliver a minimum of 3 print or online articles each between January 2022 and December 2022

  • Participate in 8 video mentorship sessions throughout the year with documentary industry representatives who will offer insights on the field. 

  • At IDA’s expense, travel to and provide coverage of the 2022 Getting Real Documentary Film Conference or another local or regional film festival or Industry Event.

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates for the IDA Documentary Magazine Editorial Fellowship must be US-based and/or be residents of US Territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam; they must be eligible to work in the US, and should hail from communities that have been historically underrepresented in the entertainment, journalism, film criticism or nonfiction media fields, including but not limited to:

  • People of color including ethnic minorities and members of indigenous communities
  • LGBTQ+ community
  • People with disabilities
  • Residents of under-reported US geographic regions

Applicants should submit the following:

  1. A letter of interest that articulates your background, your experience in writing and your desire for and qualifications for the IDA Documentary Magazine Editorial Fellowship. (Suggested length: 1 page, Format: PDF)

  2. Up to three samples of your previously published work. If you don’t have published samples, feel free to send us what you have or write something new. (Any length or style, Format: PDF. Alternatively you may provide links to your work online)

  3. One original story idea for a reported article or essay that you think will resonate with Documentary magazine readers. This could also be a translation project wherein you translate an important piece of documentary journalism into English, or vice versa. Let us know why you think this essay or article needs to be read more widely. (Suggested length: 1-2 paragraphs, Format: In Application Question)*Be advised that your story idea might be similar to content already in progress or in the planning stages at Documentary magazine

  4. A current resume (Format: PDF)


  • Application deadline: November 5, 2021
  • Notification date: December 3, 2021
  • Fellowship start date: January 3, 2022
  • Fellowship end date: December 16, 2022