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IDA Open Call for Documentary Magazine Editorial Fellows

By Tom White

In its ongoing mission to serve, empower and engage a diverse range of voices, perspectives and experiences from the documentary community, The International Documentary Association (IDA) is calling for applications for its newly launched Documentary Magazine Editorial Fellowship initiative. 

Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), this fellowship is designed to enhance opportunities for writers from underserved and underrepresented communities to participate in the editorial planning process at, and contribute content to Documentary magazine, the only US publication dedicated solely to documentaries, available via print and online. This program will, in turn, help IDA to enrich its editorial content, furthering and deepening an ongoing community-wide conversation about the nonfiction form and the issues and themes that are driving the documentary profession. 

The fellowship program, which runs from January through December 2020, will provide stipends of $2,000 each and the opportunity to attend an industry event for four emerging writers.

The writers will:

  • Participate in quarterly editorial meetings

  • Pitch, write and deliver a minimum of 3 print or online articles each between January 2020 and December 2020

  • Participate in 3-4 video mentorship sessions throughout the year with documentary industry representatives who will offer insights on the field. 

  • At IDA’s expense, travel to and provide coverage of Getting Real 2020 or another local or regional film festival or industry event.

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates for the IDA Documentary Magazine Fellowship must be US-based and eligible to work in the US, and should hail from communities that have been historically underrepresented in the entertainment, journalism, film criticism or nonfiction media fields, including but not limited to:

  • People of color including ethnic minorities and members of indigenous communities

  • LGBTQ+ community

  • People with disabilities

  • Residents of under-reported US geographic regions

Applicants should submit the following:

  1. A letter of interest that articulates your background, your experience in writing and your desire for and qualifications for the IDA Documentary Magazine Fellowship. (Suggested length: 1 page, Format: PDF)

  2. Up to three samples of your previously published work (Any length or style, Format: PDF. Alternatively you may provide links to your work online)

  3. One original story idea for a reported article or essay that you think will resonate with Documentary Magazine readers. (Suggested length: 1-2 paragraphs, Format: In Application Question) *Be advised that your story idea might be similar to content already in progress or in the planning stages at Documentary magazine

  4. A current resume (Format: PDF)


  • Application Deadline: Friday, October 25, 2019

  • Notification date: Late November 2019

  • A mandatory Orientation Meeting (approximately 1-hour), via Video Conference, will be held in late December or early January.

  • Fellowship start date: Thursday, January 2, 2020

  • Fellowship End Date: Friday, December 18, 2020