The McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism

Frequently Asked Questions

The McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism

What kinds of stories do you support?

We take a broad view on what constitutes a business or economic story. In short, if something or someone impacts the economy, it’s an economic story. Along with core business issues such as the evolution of Wall Street, the challenges of globalization or the debate over what to do about rising inequality, we know that many good business and economics stories arise in the course of covering other beats — sports, technology, health care, the environment, entertainment and politics. And we’re equally intrigued by investigative pieces that expose hidden problems or wrongdoing, explanatory stories that provide context or analysis of a complex topic, or narratives that help an audience understand the key players or issues animating the U.S. and global economies.

Within that framework, we’ll look for strong ideas that shed light on a poorly covered area or that significantly advance the understanding of well-trod ground. Most important will be a fresh and compelling idea and the Fellow’s ability to do enterprise reporting that leads to an ambitious story that can be completed during the Fellowship.

What does the stipend cover?

The stipend — $5,000 a month for up to three months — is intended to cover travel and research expenses incurred in reporting the stories and to assist with the Fellows’ living expenses. Where travel or other expenses are exceptionally high, we will consider covering additional expenses approved in advance.

If you are receiving support from another grant or foundation for the story you are proposing, please include that in your application.

What role does the McGraw Center play?

In addition to financial support, the McGraw Center provides editorial guidance throughout the Fellowship. We will work closely with Fellows to develop and refine their ideas during the reporting phase and edit their drafts into publishable stories. The extent of our editorial role will depend on the needs of the outlet in which the piece will appear.

Do you help place stories?

Yes. The McGraw Center will work with Fellows who do not already have an outlet to place their stories. In some cases, we will partner with an established print, radio or digital outlet; in others we will publish the stories as e-books or through the CUNY J-School’s book imprint. We’ll publish the stories on the McGraw Center’s website as well.

 If the outlet you currently work for plans to run the piece you’ve proposed for the Fellowship, please tell us that in your application. If you’re a freelance journalist, please indicate if a publication is committed to running your story.

Can I keep working at my job during the fellowship?

No. This is intended to be a full-time Fellowship, so your time should be devoted to completing the project. You can continue to receive benefits or salary from your employer, but you  cannot generally carry out regular assignments from them while on the Fellowship.

If you are employed, please explain in your pitch whether you have received permission to take the necessary time to produce the story and if your publication plans to run it.

What happens to any payments for the article?

Any fees the publication pays will go to the Fellow.

Can international journalists apply?

Yes. We’ll consider proposals with a strong U.S. angle from both foreign and American journalists, as long as the work is published in English in a U.S.-based media outlet.

Can students apply?

Generally speaking, no. The Fellowship is open only to journalists with at least five years of work experience in journalism. A veteran journalist who has returned to school could apply, however.

Will the McGraw Center fund a book proposal?

Generally, no. We typically do not fund book proposals. While we’re aware that many long-form articles provide the basis for a book, our goal is to support strong, publishable stories that can run in print, radio or digital outlets. If you are working on a book and think that a piece of it can be developed into a stand-alone article, please focus on that angle in your pitch. And let us know in your application if you have a book contract for the subject of your proposed article.

How many references do I need?

Two references, including at least one from an editor who has worked with you. Make sure both come from people familiar enough with your work to be able to discuss your ability to carry out the proposed project.