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Each year, AIR teams up with the Third Coast International Audio Festival 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 15 recipients with funding for travel and attendance to the annual Third Coast Conference in Chicago, Illinois, held October 31–November 2 this year. New Voices will find a network of peers and mentors, opportunities to meet industry leaders, and chances to share their interests, concerns and work.
We seek: 15 daring makers from all corners of the country, especially individuals from underrepresented communities and groups.
If chosen, you receive: A stipend up to $1,500 to attend the 2019 Third Coast Conference, a complimentary one-year AIR membership, and special opportunities and support at the conference as well as throughout your career. All New Voices Scholars are gathered for a two-day retreat on Tuesday, October 29 and Wednesday, October 30, 2019, before Third Coast Conference begins. The full New Voices time commitment is October 29–November 3.
Beyond the conference: New Voices scholars will receive coaching, professional development support, and structured networking with leaders in the industry, and will join our robust alumni network of more than 200 journalists with diverse backgrounds, craft and experience.
Join us at an online info session: Applications can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re holding online info sessions to answer questions and talk about the process. Bookmark these dates May 8, 6:30pm ET and May 20, 6pm ET to stop by and hang out!
Support for the 2019 New Voices scholars comes from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the MacArthur Foundation, Third Coast International Audio Festival, and AIR producers everywhere. Join AIR to find mentorship, community, skill-building workshops, and funding opportunities. (You do not need to join AIR in order to apply for New Voices.)
(Illustration by 2018 New Voice alum Ariana Martinez.)
Afi Yellow-Duke (NV ’16) is a Production Assistant at StoryCorps based in Brooklyn, New York. She has contributed to projects for The New York Times, Panoply Media, Audible, and BRIC Radio. She holds a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology and Dance from Middlebury College.
NEW VOICES FAQ
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 Third Coast Conference 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 also vision. The committee who reads the New Voices applications is mindful to select candidates with different abilities and also those who come from underrepresented communities and geographical locations. Their goal is to find candidates who will bring an inclusive and dynamic mix to the conference, to the New Voices group, and to the industry in general.
How much experience are applicants expected to have?
There is no specific requirement in terms of experience, but we will be especially interested in producers attending the Third Coast Conference for the first time and those who are relatively new to working in public media.
What is the total cost of the conference?
The cost varies, based on your geography, but we generally estimate the cost at $1,600, depending on your travel cost and hotel choice. Your registration fee will be subtracted from the amount of scholarship funding you’re awarded. Many of our producers share rooms to offset expenses. If you’re selected, we can help with those decisions and connections.
What is the total value of the scholarship?
We invite applicants to consider and then identify the amount that they need in order to take advantage of this opportunity. The application form will include suggested amounts of support, but each applicant is responsible for identifying the amount that he or she might need.
Is there anything I need to do if I am awarded a scholarship?
Yes. AIR requires you to attend specific events at the conference. Your responsibilities would include manning the AIR table for one shift and attending a dedicated session at the conference (details 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) by December 1, 2019. If you are chosen for a scholarship, you will be given specific instructions about what to include in the report at that time.
When will I know if I received a scholarship?
All applicants will hear from AIR no later than July 29, 2019.
If I am awarded a scholarship, when will I receive my funds?
Funding will be disbursed by check after the 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 more information about the 2019 Third Coast Conference, please visit the Third Coast Website.
What can I expect from the New Voices experience?
The New Voices alumni share what they learned and observed in a report. Here is what they discovered, in their own words:
New Voices Report 2018 | New Voices Report 2017 | New Voices Report 2016 | New Voices Report 2015 | New Voices Report 2014 | New Voices Report 2013 | New Voices Report 2012 | New Voices Report 2011 | New Voices Report 2010 | New Voices Report 2009 (formerly “Making Creative Media”)
A few words from the New Voices alumni network:
Jenni Monet, independent producer embedded at Standing Rock, host and creator of “Still Here,” NV ‘16:
“My New Voices experience already had influenced my professional direction and it started the first day we all met. As I Instagrammed out to the world that night, meeting a new media family with so much diversity could not have come at a better time, especially when we are questioning our role as storytellers in this new America. Thank you AIR.”
“I feel like I walked away with increased confidence. Being part of a fantastic cohort, practicing talking about my work and listening to excellent producers like Linda Lutton and Shereen Marisol Meraji speak all influenced that overall feeling. I loved meeting the other New Voices scholars and representing both AIR and WYSO at the conference; I felt increasingly sure of my/our talents and direction as the week went on.”
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be an AIR New Voices Scholar. It was amazing. Third Coast was insane — a non-stop weekend of new faces, ideas, and radio – and I loved it. To be surrounded by a community so passionate about radio is rare. It’s great that a conference like this exists.”
“One of the major pros of new voices was having that group of people during the conference that I knew I could wave to, or feel comfortable having a conversation with. That meet-up we had before the conference was essential. If I felt overwhelmed during the conference, there was always a new voice I could lean on.”
“Creatively, I feel like Third Coast really opened my ears. And this too is important: I’d heard that radio folk were the most welcoming and encouraging of the professional creative tribes, and this, too, was confirmed at Third Coast – both among the general population of conference attendees, and specifically among the New Voices. Being part of this smaller group really brought something special to the festivities. I particularly enjoyed being at the AIR table (believe it or not!) because it gave me a chance to meet people I might not otherwise had a chance to meet.”
Have more questions? Contact Program Director Tran Vu at firstname.lastname@example.org.