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Think like a lawyer. Report like a journalist.

Enhance your journalism skills and deepen your understanding of environmental or animal law and policy with a Media Fellowship at one of the nation's top environmental law schools. Every summer, Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center brings together legal educators, policymakers, practicing lawyers and other leaders in their fields to share their expertise in our Summer Session. They also enjoy the beauty of our campus, the historic village of South Royalton, and the natural surroundings.

Media Fellows audit a Vermont Law School course during June or July and have access to our distinguished faculty and visiting policy leaders. The position includes a stipend, free housing, books, and a tuition waiver. Family members are welcome to join.

Fellows learn from experienced litigators who have won major cases and from policy experts in climate change, animal law, energy, food and agriculture, and other areas. After class, they can meet for on- or off-the-record conversations with these experts, developing new insights, meeting new sources, and gaining renewed enthusiasm for covering these critical issues. Media fellows also take part in the Summer Session's brown bag lunch series, "Hot Topics in Environmental Law," delivering a 45-minute, informal lecture on an environmental or animal law and policy topic of their choosing. Outside of classroom time, fellows can enjoy rural Vermont by swimming, kayaking, hiking, biking, or just relaxing on the front porch.

Vermont Law School is seeking five fellows for 2022: two journalists focused on animal law, and three focused on environmental law. 

Animal Law Media Fellowships are open to full-time journalists covering issues related to animal law and policy. Fellows will choose to audit a course from VLS’s summer animal law courses, which include Animal Welfare Law, Animal Ethics and Conservation, and Undercover Investigations of Animal Operations (view the course catalog for more information). One applicant will be selected for a weekend-long fellowship (which includes a $500 stipend), and one applicant will be selected for a two-week fellowship (which includes a $1250 stipend). Fellows are selected based on work history and samples, commitment to covering animal issues, and their potential for increasing understanding of animal law and policy issues nationwide. 

Environmental Law Media Fellowships are open to full-time journalists who cover the environment, natural resources, energy, legal affairs, public health, food and agriculture, and other environment-related issues. Each fellow will choose to audit one two-week course from a wide selection of topics, available here, and will earn a $1250 stipend. Fellows are selected based on work history and samples, commitment to covering environmental law, and their potential for increasing understanding of environmental law and policy issues nationwide.

Environmental law media fellowships have been made possible since 2002 by a grant from the Johnson Family Foundation and major donors. Animal law media fellowships have been made possible since 2021 thanks to a grant from the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®).


"Attending Vermont Law School this summer was immensely educational. It's so rare to have the opportunity to spend two weeks burrowing into a single topic, and it was a huge privilege to do so in the idyllic surroundings of South Royalton. In addition to attending class, I had the chance to connect face-to-face and on Zoom with law school faculty, all of whom are doing exciting research relevant to my beat. I would recommend this fellowship for anyone reporting on animals and agriculture."
–Claire Brown (Animal Law Media Fellow), The Counter 
“I recommend this fellowship to any reporter covering the environment. Not only do you have to know the science, but VLS helps you to know the law. In fact, I still keep my textbooks from that summer as reference materials.”
–Seth Borenstein, AP
"Vermont Law School has always been a place to turn for well informed, helpful legal sources on environmental issues. Spending two weeks there as a media fellow lets you strengthen the relationship in important ways: schmoozing with the faculty in relaxed settings, engaging in group conversations around the big picture, presenting your own work in a noon lecture, sounding out an expert on a narrow aspect of the law that lies at the heart of a big investigative project. Other students were friendly and engaged as well. I took an intensive class taught by a VLS graduate who is the leading expert in her specialty, found it challenging and learned an enormous amount in eight packed mornings. But I also had time to bike in the hills, dine with locals, and paddle a kayak within a few feet of a family of loons. Five stars."
–Jack Cushman, InsideClimate News
"It was a great relief—and a pleasure—to spend two entire weeks simply digging into one subject. I was able to build considerable depth in a topic that is likely to gain prominence on the public agenda. I feel much better prepared to report knowledgeably on the topic (Arctic oil exploration). And I also seized the chance to wander into offices and engage people throughout the law school. A first-rate experience."
–Richard Harris, NPR
"The two weeks at VLS were refreshing and invigorating, a chance to step back from the hurly-burly of news deadlines and explore new directions. From full-time faculty like Pat Parenteau, Laurie Ristino, and Craig Pease I gained a fuller appreciation of the bright and committed scholars you have on your faculty. I've added a few new names to my Rolodex, to be sure."
–Timothy Wheeler, Baltimore Sun
“Vermont Law School gave me the rare chance to spend two focused weeks studying the law and policy behind the environmental issues I write about. My course, Earth Law, was engaging and thought-provoking. The faculty shared its expertise through lectures on timely topics and opened their doors to me for one-on-one discussions. I'd recommend the fellowship to any journalist seeking a broader understanding of environmental law.”
–Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times

Past Media Fellows

  • Pamela King, E&E News
  • Lisa Held, Civil Eats
  • Claire Brown, The Counter
  • Jessica Scott-Reid, freelance journalist
  • Annie Snider, Politico
  • Ellen Gilmer, E&E News
  • David Abel, The Boston Globe
  • Yvette Cabrera, Grist
  • Ashley Ahearn, PRI's Living on Earth
  • Natalie Allen, CNN
  • Anthony Barboza, Los Angeles Times
  • Kevin Begos, The Associated Press
  • Winifred Bird, freelancer in Japan
  • Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press
  • Dina Cappiello, Houston Chronicle
  • Jon Christensen, freelancer for The New York Times
  • Warren Cornwall, Seattle Times
  • Jack Cushman, InsideClimate News
  • Beth Daley, The Boston Globe
  • Osha Gray Davidson, freelance writer
  • Rob Davis, Voice of San Diego
  • Kate Galbraith, Texas Tribune
  • Zoe Schlanker, Newsweek 
  • Renee Schoof, Bloomberg BNA
  • Peter Schwartzstein, freelance journalist
  • Florah Seboni, Wena Industry and Environment Magazine (Botswana)
  • Mitch Tobin, Arizona Daily Star 
  • Miao Xiaojuan, Xinhua News Agency
  • Roseanne Gerin, Radio Free Asia
  • Erica Gies, freelancer for The New York Times
  • Adam Glenn, independent online producer (formerly ABCNews, Greenwire)
  • Richard Harris, NPR
  • Fiona Harvey, The Guardian
  • Cynthia Henry, Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Tom Henry, The Blade (Toledo)
  • Cheryl Hogue, Chemical & Engineering News
  • Lawrence Hurley, Greenwire
  • Lisa Hymas, Media Matters for America
  • Jeremy Jacobs, Greenwire
  • Maya Kapoor, High Country News 
  • Brent Kendall, The Wall Street Journal
  • Rebecca Leber, Mother Jones
  • Mike Lee, San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Randy Lee Loftis, Dallas Morning News
  • Tim McDonnell, Mother Jones, Climate Desk
  • John McQuaid, New Orleans Times-Picayune
  • Lisa Palmer, freelance writer
  • Jodi Peterson, High Country News
  • Asher Price, Austin American-Statesman
  • Amy Quinton, New Hampshire Public Radio
  • Mark Schapiro, Center for Investigative Reporting
  • Priyanka Bora, Hindustan Times
  • Timothy Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun
  • Jason Dearen, The Associated Press
  • Misty Edgecomb, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
  • Melanie Kaplan, freelance journalist
  • Marina Bolotnikova, freelance journalist


How to Apply 

Fellowships are competitive and open to staff, freelance, and independent reporters, writers, editors, and producers who are working full time as journalists. Journalism students and teachers, public relations practitioners and contributors to newsletters, magazines and other media controlled by industry, government or advocacy groups are not eligible. Fellows are selected based on the quality of their work and their ability to reach a broad audience. VLS looks for journalists who are from different geographic areas, at different career stages, in different types of media and who work for a variety of news organizations. Journalists from BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and other underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

The application deadline for our 2022 fellowships has now closed. Please check back in February 2023 for information about applying to next summer's program.