2020 Transatlantic Media Fellowships Application

The Transatlantic Media Fellowships programme has for several years supported well-researched transatlantic journalism. In 2020, the Heinrich Böll Foundation (including our office in Warsaw) supports a selected number of journalists and publicists from the US and Europe for an independent, minimum five-day, transatlantic trip to research stories relevant to the foundation’s work on policies in 4 fields: energy & climate; transition in agriculture; democracy, human rights and social policy, as well as foreign and security policy. Fellowships are selected annually and are open to journalists and publicists in any medium. Please note that eligibility criteria differ by issue area and may vary between participating offices.

The results of the 2018 and 2019 edition of the programme can be found here.


The Heinrich Böll Foundation Warsaw offers a stipend of PLN 12,500. The stipend is paid partially in advance, to cover costs of travel to/from and stay in the United States of America, and partially after the completion of the reporting.  


We seek journalists and publicists with a strong track record of publications, working in or for any medium, who offer new perspectives on transatlantic policy debates.

We will give special consideration to journalists and publicists:

·from national, regional or local media outlets who can demonstrate that transatlantic reporting is a new and important perspective for their audience

·whose story ideas would be informative for national, regional or local policy debates

·from diverse backgrounds who can offer lesser-heard perspectives

·who may not otherwise have the opportunity to conduct transatlantic research

Applicants for all four issue areas - Foreign & Security Policy, Transition in Agriculture, Energy & Climate and Democracy, Human Rights & Social Policy should be based in Poland and demonstrate a strong motivation for engaging in research and reporting on the United States.

Note: We do not require fellows to be citizens of Poland; however, fellows are responsible for securing their own visas, if necessary. We can provide a letter of support for the visa application process.


Reporting: Each fellow is expected to publish content from their trip in any print or online medium not later than October 31, 2020.  Reporting is required to be done by submitting a total of three separate media pieces in a freely chosen format, incl. interviews, articles or multimedia content (f.e., podcasts, videos, or photo essays).

Please note: Due to the dynamic current situation in relation to the Corona Virus pandemia and subsequent travel restrictions, we will take into account the possibility of postponement of the trips and publication dates later in the year.

Publication: Fellows must be able to either guarantee the publication of their pieces in any medium or to provide us with documentation of a completed story ready for publication. Fellows should demonstrate a strong track record of publications and/or media productions and should highlight this in their application.

Crediting the foundation: Fellows (and/or their employers) will retain editorial control over their reporting, but will be asked to submit each media piece before its publication, as hbs reserves the right to verify whether the piece does not contain messages contrary to hbs’ fundamental values. The reporting will credit hbs for supporting the research. The Heinrich Böll Foundation retains the right to feature the final pieces on its website following their publication, either as an excerpt or in its complete form. In cases where publication with a media outlet cannot be secured, articles may be published on the website of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Active social media engagement: While traveling and developing their stories, fellows are expected to actively engage with the Heinrich Böll Foundation over Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HBSWarszawa) and/or Twitter (@Boell_PL).


Please read the application instructions carefully before submitting your application. We will not consider incomplete applications. A complete application consists of:

  1. CV: Please use a standard EU format or other including the same type of information
  2. Cover Letter: A one-page document outlining your motivation, qualifications and experience.
  3. Proposal: Please include the following four sections:
  • Story proposals: Please include a short description of the stories you plan to cover (about 200 words each). You do not need to have interviews confirmed, but you should indicate whom you plan to contact. The publications will generally be in Polish for the Polish public, but please let us know if you would also like to publish a piece in English. Please also specify the medium, audience and time schedule for publication.
  • Travel Itinerary: Please outline your dates of travel, destinations, and possible interviews in each location. Travel should be for a minimum of 5 days and shall be completed by August 31, 2020.
  • Social Media Engagement: Briefly explain how you plan to engage with the Heinrich Böll Foundation in the course of your fellowship.
  • Work samples: Please submit two work samples. If your previous work is not in Polish, English or German, please provide a brief summary of each of your work samples in English.

For questions and inquiries, please contact Gert Röhrborn at gert.roehrborn@pl.boell.org

The application deadline is midnight April 30, 2020. We strongly encourage early applications. 

We plan to contract selected journalists and publicists by the end of May.


Issue areas  

 Please apply for only one of the following issue areas:

1. Energy & Climate

We encourage applicants in this category to pitch stories related to one of the following issues:

  • Progressive climate policy measures/engagement on a local, regional and/or federal level: 3 years of Donald Trump’s US Presidency were marked by announcements about the crucial role of the fossil fuels (oil and coal sector) in ensuring the key role of the country on the international energy markets (especially gas market). However, it is clear now that this American administration policy is not able to effectively limit the development of renewable energy sources that are growing rapidly.
  • The Green New Deal bringing together environmental and social agendas: Within last year we’ve observed a new way of approaching climate transformation dominating the discussion on the progressive side. Young progressive politicians and grassroots groups, including the Sunrise Movement brought to the mainstream the idea of solving environmental and social problems at once with the same set of public interventions under the banner of Green New Deal.
  • Energy transition, phase-out of coal, just transition and economic development in coal communities: Not only in Poland and in different European regions, but also in the United States coal is part of identity, culture, and economy in several regions. However, because of economic and / or political reasons, coal regions and communities are already in or face transition process.
  • Nuclear energy in the US: 97 commercial reactors make US a country with the largest nuclear fleet in the world, but only one new reactor has been opened within last 20 years and finding a solution to the problem of highly radioactive waste is still to be found. At the same time the US observed an unprecedented rise of the wind and solar industries.
  • Other: Is there another major energy challenge shared by US and Poland that you think should be covered? Pitch it, tell us why it’s important and relevant to our work, and we’ll take it into consideration.

2. Transition in Agriculture

We encourage applicants in this category to pitch stories related to one of the following issues:

  • Alternative supply chains: We seek reporting on movements and activities focused on strengthening the position of farmers in the supply chain as well as various ways of shortening the supply chains in agricultural sectors (e.g. through Community Supported Agriculture, farmers’ and/or consumers’ cooperatives, farmers’ shops etc.).
  • Regenerative agriculture and its role in current politics.  In a country highly dominated by destructive industrial farming (both in animal breeding and plant growing sectors), alternative models are still marginal in the US, but already existing and on the rise. We seek reporting on the growing movement of regenerative agriculture (in its various forms and scopes). We are also interested in how such alternatives caught the attention of politicians and in what ways they are slowly taking their place in the political discourse in the US.
  • The role of women in transition in agriculture: The grassroots efforts of trying to modify the dominant industrial and corporate food system into the system that is inclusive, just and sustainable, are mostly driven and carried out by women. We are interested in strong leadership and role-model examples in this area.
  • Other: Is there another major agriculture challenge shared by US and Poland that you think should be covered? Pitch it, tell us why it’s important and relevant to our work, and we’ll take it into consideration.

3. Democracy, Human Rights & Social Policy

We encourage applicants in this category to pitch stories related to one of the following issues:

  • USA as a supporter of democracy and human rights: With the Trump presidency seemingly trying to establish a “profitable” relationship between national interest and international defence of human rights, further investigation into the current role of US state and private actors in the field of democracy promotion is welcome.
  • Financing “gender backlash”:  As various sources refer to certain evidence for the financial involvement of private actors operating from the United States, we are seeking for deeper research into the interconnections between American and European “anti-gender movements”.
  • Role of Polonia in US politics: While the Polonia in the US generally seems to be prone to support the national conservative camp in Poland, more detailed background stories on local activists, their stance on the Polish transformation and perceptions about conceptional overlaps between the Trump presidency and PiS government would be appreciated. 
  • Other: Is there another major challenge shared by US and Poland or V4/Europe generally that you think should be covered? Pitch it, tell us why it’s important and relevant to our work, and we’ll take it into consideration.

4. Foreign & Security Policy

We encourage applicants in this category to pitch stories related to one of the following issues:

  • Perceptions of the European Union in the US: We seek reporting on how are the changing Europe “after Brexit” and different opinions within the European Union on the transatlantic cooperation perceived in the US public debate or political strategies and the vision of the future of transatlantic relations.
  • Implications of the ongoing tensions with Russia: We are looking for stories on how the ongoing tensions with Russia have affected the public discourse on the engagement of US in the defense of Europe /European Union, particular in the support for Ukraine. Stories could for example focus on (renewed) discussions on compulsory military service, strengthening of cyber security capabilities, or nuclear deterrence.
  • Perception of the European security policy: We seek reporting on how the European security policy, in particular the Polish security policy, is perceived in the US public debate or political strategies for the further cooperation.
  • Other: Is there another foreign and security policy topic that is relevant to both Europe/Poland and the US that you think should be covered? Pitch it, tell us why it’s important and relevant to our work, and we’ll take it into consideration.

Transatlantic Media Fellowship 2018 and 2019

Transatlantic Media Fellowship 2018, 2019 i 2023