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IDA Open Call for Documentary Magazine Editorial Fellows

I love documentary films and am in favor of seeing them being distributed and seen more widely, and being written about more widely and in more diverse voices. So I am pleased to announce that the International Documentary Association (IDA) has just launched a Documentary Magazine Editorial Fellowship initiative that is currently on the lookout for applicants. It's all in keeping with the organization's ongoing mission "to serve, empower and engage a diverse range of voices, perspectives and experiences from the documentary community." The program, which runs from January through December 2020 will provide four emerging writers from underserved and underrepresented communities stipends of $2,000 each as well as the opportunity to attend an industry event.

The fellowship is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and will enable participating writers to contribute content to Documentary magazine, the only US publication dedicated solely to documentaries, available via print and online. This program will, according to IDA editor Tom White, help the organization 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. 

Here are the fellowship bullet points and application guidelines, as posted on the IDA's official site...

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

Header photo of Documentary Magazine courtesy of IDA.

Chaz Ebert

Chaz is the CEO of several Ebert enterprises, including the President of The Ebert Company Ltd, and of Ebert Digital LLC, Publisher of, President of Ebert Productions and Chairman of the Board of The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, and Co-Founder and Producer of Ebertfest, the film festival now in its 24th year.

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