Katherine W. Fanning Residency in Journalism & Democracy

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The Kettering Foundation invites journalists and scholars of journalism from around the world to spend up to six months working with us in Dayton, Ohio, to explore the role of journalism in a democratic society and the obligations of journalists to democratic public life. While at the foundation, residents are expected to work with Kettering’s staff on the foundation’s ongoing research in this area. Work will include literature reviews related to the foundation’s program areas, exploration of the role of a deliberative public in the political work of communities domestically and internationally, and participation in workshops and other meetings related to the foundation’s research.

Kettering’s primary concern is with the role of citizens in democracy. Potential candidates should note that this is a residency that explores the connection between citizen-centered journalism and democratic public life, not simply journalism. This research is an extension of Kettering’s broader research focus on how to strengthen democracy and particularly the ability of citizens to shape their collective future.

Eligibility Requirements

The foundation is interested in applicants who want to explore some of the following challenges:

  • the impact of journalistic practices that privilege expert voices, frame issues in partisan or expert terms, and in other ways treat citizens as passive consumers of information;
  • efforts by journalists to produce journalism that helps develop citizens’ civic capacities and sense of agency in addressing shared concerns in public life;
  • the role of journalists in framing issues in ways that enable citizens to actively participate in making decisions together about their collective future; and
  • the role of journalism education in graduating journalists with an understanding of the above challenges.

Residents will be required to produce some final work products, which may take many forms. Past products have included articles, columns, blogs, television and radio productions, and book manuscripts. Other appropriate projects will also be considered, such as research papers that explore what role journalists do and could play in democracy.

Application Process

Residencies begin in mid-January and early or mid-July. Applications for the January class of residents are due by October 1 of the preceding year. Applications for the July class are due by March 1 of the same year.

Eligible candidates must be fluent in written and spoken English and have attended Kettering’s Deliberative Democracy Exchange or other Kettering research exchanges.

Applications should include a curriculum vitae and a cover letter of no more than three pages. In the letter, candidates should describe their interest in the residency and what they would hope to gain from the experience. Applicants are encouraged to describe a problem related to journalism and democracy and suggest how their work at the foundation might contribute to thinking about possible remedies to the problem.

Finalists will be asked to submit a more detailed essay, a reference letter from a sponsoring institution (such as an affiliated academic institution or employer), and a suggested time frame for the residency. Time frames may vary in length and by need but cannot exceed six months. Residency schedules may be negotiated.

Those selected for the residency will develop final work plans in collaboration with Kettering Foundation staff.

Selection is based on:

  • the candidate’s commitment to using the residency to further explore the role of journalism in democracy;
  • the relevance of the candidate’s interests to the foundation’s research questions;
  • the strength of the nominee’s work experience and academic background (advanced degree or bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent);
  • the strength of the letter of recommendation by a sponsoring organization;
  • fluency in written and spoken English, as determined by the sponsoring organization;
  • prior attendance at Kettering Foundation research exchanges

Applications should be sent by email to: International_Residency@kettering.org with the subject “Fanning Residency”

Or mail to:

Katherine W. Fanning Residency
Kettering Foundation
200 Commons Road
Dayton, Ohio 45459-2788

Compensation and Provisions

Expenses and compensation will be covered in full by the Kettering Foundation; this includes round-trip airfare from the home country to Dayton, Ohio. Salary will be commensurate with experience but may be limited by visa requirements. Residents pay their living expenses from their salary. The foundation will also provide for travel expenses for foundation-related trips, travel/accident insurance, and medical coverage.

About the Residency

Previous Fanning residents have come from Australia, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, and New Zealand, among other places. They have worked on a variety of projects; some examples include:

  • Work on radio and public deliberation
  • An unpublished paper, “More Public and Less Experts: A Framework for Re-connecting the Work of Journalists with the Work of Citizens”

Inquiries about the residency and the foundation’s research should be emailed.

About Katherine W. Fanning

This residency is named for the late Katherine Fanning, 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. Katherine 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.