Announcing NASW’s new Diversity Reporting Grants

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our lives and represents hardships for many of us. This can be especially true for freelance writers, who may be finding it particularly difficult to secure work in these challenging economic times. In light of the NASW Diversity Committee’s aim to support the science writing community, we are launching a set of Diversity Reporting Grants. This program will support five reporting grants of $1,000 each.

We are seeking to fund strong, high-impact story proposals, involving one or more freelancers, that will focus on how a science or health-related issue is affecting marginalized communities. Proposed projects can include COVID-19 stories, but the grants won’t be limited to pandemic-related coverage. This opportunity is open to all freelance science writers pitching to publications or radio or broadcast outlets based in the U.S.

Funds can be used to support travel, reporting costs, and/or the recipient's time. Applicants will need to demonstrate that there is interest from at least one publication, broadly defined, in commissioning their piece. We ask that selected recipients note in the piece if possible, or in their portfolio, that it was supported, in whole or part, by an NASW Diversity Reporting Grant.

Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on August 15, 2020. Grant recipients will be notified by September 15, 2020.

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Open to any freelance science writer. Work must be intended for a U.S.-based outlet or platform, e.g. magazine, newspaper, website, broadcast outlet, or institutional publication (such as an alumni magazine).
  • We prioritize applications from people with diverse backgrounds, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical ability, nationality, age, socioeconomic status, and/or belief.

We expect the publishing outlet to pay the selected freelance writers for their work. However, in exceptional cases where a publication is willing to assign a story but is unable to pay for it, we may allow the grant to be used to cover the writer’s fee, if a reasonable explanation is provided.

To apply, please provide the following in our online application:

  • A 300-word description of the proposed project highlighting how your story focuses on one or more communities whose stories are underrepresented in the media.
  • A brief description of your project’s budget (example provided in the online application). Outline how you will spend the grant money and offer a rough timetable for the project’s completion.
  • A copy of a communication (such as a letter or email) expressing interest from an editor at a target outlet based in the U.S. Note that this does not have to be a formal assignment or promise of work. We are simply looking for an indication that the proposed story has a good chance of being published.
  • Three examples (links) of published work from each applicant in the last year. These clips do not need to be science-related.
  • Contact information for three professional references OR one letter of recommendation.
  • A copy of your resume or curriculum vitae.

Applications are due 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on August 15, 2020. Submit online here.

The NASW Diversity Committee focuses on special projects and programs that support diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in science journalism. The committee’s initiatives are intended to support writers from underrepresented communities and bring new members into the field.

Established in 1934, the National Association of Science Writers fosters the dissemination of accurate information regarding science by supporting the professional development of science writers. Membership is open to working journalists, PIOs, writers, authors, and other content creators, as well as students. Our community spans freelancers and employees working at newspapers, wire services, magazines, radio and television, and digital properties, as well as universities, agencies, and other institutions across the United States and beyond. Above all, NASW fights for the free flow of science news. To learn more, visit and follow us at

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