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Events: Inside The Secret World Of The Spencer Journalism Fellowship

Spencers2014-2015
Saturday was the occasion of the annual Spencer Journalism Fellowship reunion, during which the new fellows (pictured) are officially introduced to the alumni and given their secret instructions.  This year's fellows (Linda, Mitra, and Joy) are focusing on poverty, resegregation of schools, and special education respectively.  Read below for some notes and tidbits from the event, as well as encouragement to apply for the fellowship this winter and make us all proud with the project you produce.

One big new twist on the Spencer Fellowship is that there are now also recent Columbia J-School grads doing education journalism as well as the three "mid-career plus Joy Resmovits" fellows that go through each year. They're being supervised by Sarah Carr, herself a former Spencer. And their work (aka The Teacher Project) is being posted at Slate's Schooled education page.

Other alumni news: Two Spencer alumnae's work -- Green and Goldstein's -- was reviewed on the cover of the latest New York Review of Books. The publication date for Greg Toppo's Spencer-related book about learning games, The Game Believes In You, is April 21. Trey Kay is launching a cool-sounding culture show, Us And Them, about culture wars of all kinds.  Nancy Solomon is a bigwig at NJ Public Radio going on three years now, and always interestd in good education stories. Heather Vogell is now in NYC working for ProPublica.  Lauren Camera is covering Congress for EdWeek's Politics K-12 blog.

Impressive, I know.  But don't be intimidated.  The deadline for 2015-2016 is January 21st, and you should definitely apply. It's not as impossible to get as you might think. You don't have to move, really.  You can keep doing some of the work you're doing now.  And the contacts and experience are pretty helpful if you succeed. You don't even really, officially, have to write a book, though lots of books have been supported through the grants.  There are now three radio people who've gotten into the program, and could be more in the future. 

Just don't pretend to be an education writer to get the fellowship and go off and ignore education after the year is over, or never ever ever show up for Spencer events. We will talk about you behind your back, and you will know, somehow.  And you do probably have to declare the fellowship grant as income, however, so put some aside so the tax bill doesn't crush you the following year.

Attendance was strong.  The work that's been done by the fellows has generally been good, though has yet to result in any kind of breakout hit.  Crossed fingers the foundation will re-up for another three years, and the parade will go merrily on into the future.   Thanks a ton to Nick Lemann, Arlene Morgan, and especially LynNell Hancock for bringing the program to life and keeping it going in such fine form over the years. And of course thanks to Mike McPherson and all the people and Spencer for their ongoing support. 

Related posts: Spencer Fellowships Go To Lutton, Resmovits, & Kalita (Who?).

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