The International Reporting Project (IRP) provides opportunities to U.S. journalists to go overseas to do international reporting on critical issues that are under covered in the U.S. news media. The program was created in 1998, making it a pioneer in the “non-profit journalism” movement that seeks to fill the gap left by much of the mainstream media’s reduction of international news. The IRP has provided opportunities to more than 270 U.S. journalists to travel to more than 85 countries to produce prize-winning stories. The program is funded entirely by private, non-partisan foundations and individuals who believe in the importance of in-depth international coverage in the U.S. media.
The core of the program is the “IRP Fellowships in International Journalism,” which each fall brings a group of U.S. journalists to the IRP’s offices in Washington D.C. Since 1998, a total of 155 IRP Fellows in International Journalism have participated in the fellowship program that includes a five-week overseas reporting project. IRP Fellows cover stories on topics including international health and medical issues such as malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS, and child survival, the world of Islam, refugees and migration issues, women’s and children’s rights, press freedom, cultural and social change, human rights, economic development and post-conflict resolution. Stories by IRP Fellows have appeared in many of the country’s best news media and have won major awards such as Emmy Awards, duPont Awards, an Oscar nomination for best documentary, Overseas Press Club Awards and many others.
IRP Fellows are provided with a total of four weeks at the IRP’s home base, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of The Johns Hopkins University. Journalists have access to some of the world’s leading specialists in international issues at SAIS and other institutions. Located in the heart of downtown Washington, near think tanks, embassies and government offices, SAIS enrolls more than 550 full-time graduate students and mid-career professionals and has trained more than 13,000 alumni in all aspects of international affairs.
The largest component of the International Reporting Project (IRP) is the “Gatekeeper Editors” fellowships for senior editors and producers whose jobs require them to determine what gets on the air or online or in print at their news organizations. Each year, two groups of up to a dozen Gatekeeper editors are selected for visits of 10 days to two weeks to an important country in the news. Since the Gatekeepers program was launched in 2000, a total of 119 senior editors and producers have traveled to Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, Lebanon/Syria, India, Egypt, Nigeria, Korea, Uganda and Turkey.
Occasionally, the IRP also offers the “Journalist-in-Residence” fellowship, which enables senior journalists, in many cases veteran foreign correspondents, to spend from one to eight months in Washington to work on a book or other project about international affairs. The Program also organizes occasional conferences, panel discussions and public events on international news coverage, such as a conference in 2007 to discuss coverage of the war in Iraq and the future of international news in the U.S. media.