Think like a lawyer. Report like a journalist.
At the nation's premier environmental law school, you can enhance your journalism skills and deepen your understanding of environmental law and policy through our Summer Media Fellowships. 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.
Our Media Fellowships are open to full-time online, print and broadcast journalists who cover the environment, natural resources, energy, legal affairs, public health and other environment-related issues. Our Media Fellows audit one two-week course between June and July and have access to our distinguished faculty and visiting policy leaders. (Select your course from Terms Two, Three or Four in the Summer Session catalog.) You will receive a $1,250 stipend, free housing, free books, and a tuition waiver. Family members are welcome to join you.
You will learn from experienced litigators who have won major cases and from policy experts in climate change, energy and other key legal areas. After class, you can meet for on- or off-the-record conversations with these thought-provoking experts. You will develop new insights, meet new sources and gain a renewed enthusiasm for covering these critical issues. And after a satisfying day of seminars, conversation and professional growth, you can enjoy the wonders of Vermont by swimming, kayaking, hiking, biking, or just reading and relaxing on your front porch.
The 2018 Summer Session features courses in a variety of categories, including ethics and environmental justice, food and agriculture, energy, and environmental business. For a full listing of our 2018 summer courses, faculty, and schedule, visit our Summer Session pages. 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 topic of their choosing.
"The learning I have gained has already been feeding in to my reporting. For instance, only a few weeks after the course, the USA and China made a joint agreement on ratifying the Paris agreement, so I was able to use my newfound knowledge of their respective legal positions in my reporting for the Guardian, which is read around the world, and in assisting colleagues in their work. I found the course both immediately helpful, as a result, but also in a less obvious manner it was valuable for me to take time out to consider these issues in depth with an excellent teacher and in very conducive surroundings, with other highly engaged students." --Fiona Harvey, The Guardian
"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
"For me, 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
"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
"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 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 Summer Media Fellows
Ashley Ahearn, PRI's Living on Earth
Natalie Allen, CNN
Anthony Barboza, Los Angeles Times
Kevin Begos, The Associated Press
Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press
Winifred Bird, freelancer in Japan
Dina Cappiello, Houston Chronicle
Jon Christensen, freelancer for The New York Times
Warren Cornwall, Seattle Times
Jack Cushman, InsideClimate News
Beth Daley, Boston Globe
Osha Gray Davidson, freelance writer
Rob Davis, Voice of San Diego
Jason Dearen, The Associated Press
Misty Edgecomb, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Kate Galbraith, Texas Tribune
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
Jeremy Jacobs, Greenwire
Brent Kendall, The Wall Street Journal
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
Zoë Schlanger, Newsweek
Renee Schoof, Bloomberg BNA
Peter Schwartzstein, freelance journalist
Florah Seboni, Wena Industry and Environment Magazine (Botswana)
Timothy Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun
Mitch Tobin, Arizona Daily Star
Priyanka Vora, Hindustan Times
Miao Xiaojuan, Xinhua News Agency
How to Apply
Read about the selected 2018 Media Fellows here. The 2019 application process will open in January 2019; please check back then for more information.
The purpose of the fellowships program is to sharpen journalists' skills through professional development, so they can advance public understanding of environmental and natural resource issues and the laws and policies that affect our lives and the natural world.
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.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Media Relations