With my husband stranded at his downtown office by the latest Nashville Snowpocalypse, I’ve been killing time on the Internet, looking at interesting journalism-type things.
Specifically, I’ve been looking wistfully at some of those really cool journalism fellowship programs and writers’ conferences that I’ve always wanted to participate in.
The Wesleyan University Writers Conference is one that I’ve always daydreamed about attending.
The Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at MIT would also be awesome, given that I’ve been writing about medicine, nursing and health care for so many years.
Oooh, and I’d looove to be a journalism fellow at the CDC as part of the AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism program.
Here’s one that I’ve applied for twice in the past: the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism.
Note: I still think my proposals for the Carter Center fellowship would have made excellent fodder for serious, significant journalism; one focused on the mental health of bedside nurses during a nursing shortage. Mark my words: I think this may be an issue worth revisiting in a couple of years. Nurses already experience workplace-related depression, and their work situations may get even more stressful when the Baby Boomers start retiring in larger numbers, too. My other proposal was to examine the significant rate of depression or anxiety-related conditions among the family members of pastors, rabbis and other clergy. I had some great preliminary material on that topic, too. But as I was proposing to work on those projects as a freelancer, I didn’t have a major media outlet backing me up. And I suspect that may have detracted from my attractiveness as a client.
(I just got a really nice tweet from someone on Twitter, encouraging me to apply again anyway….a lot has changed in the last few years. I don’t know. Has it? What do y’all think?)
Then there’s the grandaddy of them all: the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Sadly, this one was cancelled last year, due to funding issues, and I can’t verify for sure if it seems to be back on. If it’s not, that’s a shame. Some amazing people (like my fellow Alabamian Rick Bragg) have participated in that program, and we’re all better off, as readers, for that.
Okay, and then there’s the Sewanee Writers Conference, which doesn’t have much to do with my work as a journalist, but oh, it would be so incredibly cool to attend! Sewanee in the summer is beautiful, they have all these terrific writers there to teach and guide, and well, it would be just awesome. I’d have to really buckle down and produce some fiction to even be able to apply to that one, though. I have some interesting narrative non-fiction under my belt, but not much fiction. I wrote some novellas and short stories during a graduate-level fiction-writing class about ten years ago, and I do dabble from time to time in writing stories. None of it’s ever been even remotely close to being published, it pretty much goes without saying.
Oh, there are so many things out there I’d like to do, you know?
By the way, if you are interested in more creative writing conferences? Jodie Renner of JodieRennerEditing has put together a comprehensive list of conferences on her blog.