Katherine W. Fanning Fellowship in Journalism and Democracy

Kay Fanning

The Charles F. Kettering Foundation, located in Dayton, Ohio, and Washington, DC, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, operating foundation rooted in the American tradition of inventive research. Founded in 1927 “to sponsor and carry out scientific research for the benefit of humanity,” the foundation is inspired by the innovativeness and ingenuity of its founder, the American inventor Charles F. Kettering. For the past four decades, the foundation’s research and programs have focused on the needs of democracy worldwide. Today, the organization is committing itself to advancing inclusive democracies by fostering citizen engagement, promoting government accountability, and countering authoritarianism.

The Katherine W. Fanning Fellowship in Journalism and Democracy is awarded to journalists and scholars from the US and around the world whose work furthers Katherine Fanning’s life-long commitment to journalism in service of democracy. The fellowship aims to provide recipients with opportunities to speak, report, and write on some of the most urgent challenges of democracy. Recipients of the Fanning Fellowship are selected by the president of the Kettering Foundation. 

About Katherine W. Fanning

This fellowship is named for Katherine “Kay” W. Fanning (1927-2000), an innovative and influential newspaper editor and publisher who served on the Kettering Foundation board of directors for 12 years and was chair of the board from 1994 to 1996. Between 1966 and 1983, she led the Anchorage Daily News, which, under her stewardship, won a Pulitzer Prize for public service. Fanning also served as editor of the Christian Science Monitor from 1983 to 1988, and, in 1987, was the first woman to serve as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

On the Kettering Foundation board, Fanning gave steady voice to the need for news media to act with ethical standards and for journalistic practices to serve the interests of democracy. Her commitment to those ideals sparked the foundation’s exploration of what became known as public journalism, which emphasized the responsibility of journalists in a democracy to help citizens deliberate over important issues in their communities. She also had a keen interest in the foundation’s international work and often brought the two interests together.