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New Voices Fellowship


Check out our 2020 Scholars!

Each year, AIR teams up with industry leaders to identify and cultivate a diverse roster of early-career talent to help programs, stations and networks connect with more ears, homes and corners of America.

The scholarship provides 16 recipients with funding for travel and attendance to an industry conference as a group. Recipients connect with a network of peers and mentors, meet industry leaders, and have opportunities to share their interests, concerns and work.

Through online discussions, roundtables, and interactive engagement activities led by New Voices alums, AIRsters and distinguished industry speakers, New Voices gain a better understanding of their role as mission-driven storytellers and build a sustainable community. Selected scholars receive a stipend and resources, as well as gain national exposure as they work with mentors, build their capacity as media change-makers, and demonstrate how audio and media can catalyze positive and lasting narrative change.

The 2020 New Voices Fellowship Program took shape independently and digitally to best support the needs of our underrepresented scholars throughout the U.S. With the support of New Voices Captain Elena Rivera, AIR’s Director of New Voices Ngoc-Tran Vu spearheaded the 5-month program beginning in July 2020 through December 2020. The New Voices retreat brought together the invited cohort of underrepresented media makers to build, reflect and engage digitally in critical dialogue on their journey. 2020's theme was “Mapping One’s Power and Allies amidst Adversity,” and the program was organized around a central question: How do we use and sustain our power in turbulent times? 

Applications for AIR's 2021 New Voices Fellowship Program will tentatively open in early June 2021, with programming anticipated to run from August 2021 through December 2021. Stay tuned for official details. 



Photo of Elena Rivera

Meet the 2020 New Voices Captain!

We are so pleased to announce that Elena Rivera will be our 2020 New Voices Captain. Elena comes to us as a reporter for 91.5 KRCC in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Previously, she worked for Blue Ridge Public Radio in Asheville, North Carolina; Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta, Georgia; and KBIA in Columbia, Missouri. She has won awards from the Missouri Broadcast Association, Kansas City Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists (Region 7) for her work as a morning newscast host, an arts reporter and a podcast producer. She was an AIR New Voices fellow in 2017. Elena is originally from Rochester, New York, and graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Who is eligible to apply?

All producers and program makers who self-identify as part of an underrepresented group(s) are eligible to apply. The focus of the program is radio/audio, but we welcome applicants from the full range of disciplines and practices. All ages are welcome, but any applicant younger than 18 will need an adult sponsor to sign off on his or her application and handle funds.

What do you mean by “underrepresented voices”?

We want to work with people who represent groups that are not typically represented in the public media ecosystem. This could be based on a candidate’s race, gender, and class background and/or vision. The committee who reads the New Voices applications is mindful to select candidates with different abilities and who come from underrepresented communities and geographic locations. Their goal is to find candidates who will bring an inclusive and dynamic mix to the Fellows cohort, New Voices alumni network, and to the industry in general.

How much experience are applicants expected to have?

New Voices is intended for early-career applicants and we will be especially interested in producers pushing boundaries in audio and multimedia storytelling and those who are relatively new to working in public media.

What is the total value of the scholarship?

The value for each New Voice Scholar in 2020 is $2000. Please note that the 2020 New Voice Program will be virtual due to COVID-19.

Is there anything I need to do if I am awarded a scholarship?

Yes. AIR requires you to attend specific events during the virtual Allied Media Conference. Details are to be determined, and subject to change. You will also be required to send AIR a brief report on your experience at the conference (750 – 1,000 words) no later than July 17th. If you are chosen for a scholarship, you will be given specific instructions about what to include in the report at that time.

If I am awarded a scholarship, when will I receive my funds?

Funding is usually disbursed by check post-conference, as a reimbursement, within 30 days of your submission of a brief report on your experience at the conference, an invoice, and a W-9 form. For the 2020 New Voices Virtual Program, funds will be distributed differently and that will be noted upon your acceptance into the program.

What can I expect from the New Voices experience?

The New Voices alumni share what they learned and observed in available reports throughout the years. More importantly, you join an incredible network of program alumni who represent all levels and careers in the audio industry. It is your key to career mentorship, collaboration and inspiration.

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