Applications Due January 31st
The Ferriss – UC Berkeley Psychedelic Journalism Fellowship
Fifteen $10,000 reporting grants issued per year.
How to Apply
Reporting grant applicants need to submit a well-researched and compelling story pitch, three published or aired work samples, a resume, and two letters of reference.
Although not required, a letter from a media outlet expressing interest in publishing or airing your story will substantially improve your chances of receiving a grant.
- Fellows will be chosen by a panel of working editors and journalists.
- We do not assign stories and cannot consult on proposals or story pitches before they are submitted. We do not accept proposals via email.
- Awards are intended to cover reporting costs and living expenses. We expect news organizations to pay journalists for their work once it is published or aired.
About the Fellowship
The Ferriss – UC Berkeley Psychedelic Journalism Fellowship offers fifteen $10,000 reporting grants per year to journalists reporting in-depth print and audio stories on the science, policy, business and culture of this new era of psychedelics. In addition to underwriting individual stories, the Fellowship aims to establish and nurture a new generation of journalists covering the frontlines of this rapidly changing field. We’re looking for big, underreported, narratively compelling stories placed in rich political, economic, scientific, and cultural contexts. We are committed to supporting journalists from diverse backgrounds and of all nationalities. The fellowship is a project of the U.C. Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics.
2023 Selection Committee
Adizah Eghan is a senior producer at VICE Audio where she edits and produces episodes for "VICE News Reports." Prior to VICE, she worked at The New York Times where she produced "The Daily" and "1619." Her award-winning work has also aired on Snap Judgment, Reveal, National Public Radio, KQED, and elsewhere. Adizah also served as an audio editor for the UC Berkeley 11th Hour Food and Farming Fellowship at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. She resides in Brooklyn, NY
Alan Burdick is a senior staff editor on the science desk of The New York Times and is the author of "Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation." His first book, "Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion," was a National Book Awards finalist and won the Overseas Press Club award for environmental reporting. Alan has worked as an editor at several publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and Discover. His writing has appeared there and in Harper's, GQ, Natural History, On Earth, Outside, and the Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and is the namesake of asteroid number 9291. He lives with his family outside of New York.
Tristan Ahtone is a member of the Kiowa Tribe and is editor-at-large at Grist. He previously served as editor-in-chief at the Texas Observer and Indigenous Affairs editor at High Country News. He has reported for Al Jazeera America, PBS NewsHour, National Native News, NPR and National Geographic. Ahtone’s stories have won multiple honors, including investigative awards from the Gannett Foundation and Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. He additionally led the High Country News team that received a George Polk Award, an IRE Award, a Sigma Award, a Society of News Design Award and a National Magazine Award nomination. A past president of the Native American Journalists Association, Ahtone is a 2017 Nieman Fellow and a director of the Muckrock Foundation.
Ann Marie Awad
Ann Marie is an award-winning independent journalist and podcast producer. With more than a decade of experience in local news, their work has appeared on NPR, Here & Now and Life of the Law. Awad spent three years exploring the effects of rapidly changing drug policy on peoples' everyday lives as the creator and host of the podcast On Something. They're now working on a new podcast about psychedelics.
South Orange, New Jersey
Ben is a British-born storyteller. Formerly a multimedia journalist and development executive for over a decade with CNN, Ben now tells stories across print, audio and video for outlets including the BBC, The Guardian, Fast Company and more. A recent graduate of The New School’s creative writing MFA program, his work has explored the effects of sport-related CTE and potential solutions psychedelic medicines may offer to sufferers.
Thomas, West Virginia
Cassady Rosenblum is a writer from West Virginia and proud alumna of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. In addition to being a 2022 Ferris-Berkeley Fellow, she is also the 2022-2023 Opinion Fellow for The New York Times. She's been fascinated by psychedelics ever since learning about her Beat Generation namesake, Neil Cassady, and is especially interested in writing about how psychedelics are spreading to red states and rural places. Cassady's fellowship story ran in Rolling Stone magazine in June 2022. Read it here "These Mormons Have Found a New Faith — in Magic Mushrooms."
Chris Walker is a freelance journalist based in the Mountain West who specializes in narrative, longform reporting. Over the past decade his work has spanned four continents, ranging from investigative journalism to arts and culture writing. His research into drug policy includes the 2020 narrative podcast series The Syndicate, about the rise and fall of a cannabis smuggling empire in Colorado. Walker’s work can be found on his website. For his fellowship, Chris reported a 4-part podcast digging into what's going on with the two competing psychedelics ballot initiatives in Colorado.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Clayton is a writer and physician. He has written about the promise and peril of ibogaine for Wired, the complexity of medical testing for The New Yorker, exponential growth for The Guardian, iron metabolism for Nautilus, hospital overcrowding for Undark, and more. He hopes to never write about COVID-19 again. Clayton has a medical degree from Columbia and trained at Harvard. He lives in New Mexico with his wife, where he works in rural hospitals serving Indigenous communities. Clayton is working on a magazine story about psychedelics and a new paradigm of psychiatric treatment.
Ernesto Londoño is a journalist at The New York Times working on a book about the past and future of medicinal psychedelics that will be published by Celadon Books. Ernesto served as Brazil bureau chief at The New York Times from 2017 to 2022 and was previously a member of the Editorial Board, where he wrote about global issues. Before joining The New York Times, Ernesto worked at The Washington Post for nine years, where his assignments included covering the Pentagon, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Arab Spring. Born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, Ernesto is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.
Jonathan Moens is an Eritrean-Belgian science and investigative journalist based in Rome. He studied brain sciences in London and Paris, where he worked as a neuroscience research assistant and then decided to pursue journalism. As a freelancer, he covers science, health, and environmental stories, which have been published in National Geographic, Undark, The Atlantic and more.
Brooklyn, New York
Kenya Denise is the co-founder and creative director of Domino Sound – a new production studio creating innovative, educational, and provocative multimedia. She wrote, directed, and executive produced the narrative audio drama, The Cheat Code. She was audio ep on photographer Naima Green’s prototype digital archive of queer New York, SKIN CONTACT.
For Kenya, imagination and experimentation are key. Due to relocation after Hurricane Katrina, she grew up in both New Orleans and the DMV. She is a disabled Scorpio who hates racism. She is also a psychonaut who throws amazing parties and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Kimon de Greef
Kimon de Greef is a freelance journalist from South Africa. He has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, Guernica, National Geographic and other publications, with a story on 5-MeO-DMT, a hallucinogenic substance derived from Sonoran Desert toads, for The New Yorker magazine. He co-authored a book on abalone smuggling with a poacher who began writing a memoir in prison. He holds a conservation biology masters from the University of Cape Town and a journalism masters from New York University. He's working on a book about psychedelics.
Brooklyn, New York
Manal Zahid Khan
Manal is an independent journalist, who tells stories in words, photos, and video. Her work has been at the intersection of gender, culture, cinema, and psychedelics. Her fellowship project dissects the relationship between queer identities and psychedelics in the mega city of Karachi. She is a Falak Sufi Fellow of the Near Eastern Studies and Journalism program at New York University.
Michael is a journalist and author of Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath (FSG, 2008). He is the founding editor of This Land Press and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Believer, Discover and elsewhere. His current project is the non-fiction book called Psychonaut which explores the architecture of psychocosmic experiences through a psychedelic crime story.
Los Angeles, California
Olivia Goldhill is an investigative reporter at STAT, who has been reporting on psychedelic research and drug development since 2016. She’s interested in how psychedelics fit within the existing model of healthcare, and holding the industry to high standards to create the strongest protections for patients. Her previous reporting in this space includes investigating a potential magic mushroom monopoly and exposing sexual abuse in a psychedelic clinical trial. Her work has been recognized as a 2021 EPPY finalist and a 2020 Livingston Award finalist. She previously worked at Quartz in New York and The Daily Telegraph in London. In 2022, Olivia began work on a book for Bloomsbury called Psyched about how emerging psychedelic therapies call into question the very foundations of the mental health industry.
Brooklyn, New York
Rachel is an award-winning freelance science journalist and author based in Brooklyn. She regularly contributes to The New York Times, National Geographic, Scientific American and more. She often writes about conservation, ecology and illegal wildlife trade, and more recently, has expanded her beat to include psychedelic science as well. Her next book, I Feel Love: MDMA and the Quest for Connection in a Fractured World, will be published in June 2023 with Bloomsbury and will explore the science, history, politics and culture of MDMA. For the fellowship, Rachel is working on a magazine story about ibogaine.
Brooklyn, New York
Shayla Love is an award-winning freelance journalist based in Brooklyn. Before that she was a senior staff writer at Vice News for five years where she wrote about health, science, psychology, and psychedelics. She has a master's degree in science journalism from Columbia University, and her work has appeared in Mosaic, STAT, Undark, The Washington Post, the Kenyon Review, the Atlantic, Vice, Harper’s Magazine, Gothamist, and others.
Tasmiha iis an independent journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, and Vox among others. Currently, Khan covers a wide range of topics related to health, race, politics, culture, and religion. This past year, Khan was named a Fellow for Knight Science Journalism at MIT, a Religion News Service/Interfaith America Journalism Fellow, a Higher Education Media Fellow at the Institute for Citizens & Scholars and Education Writers Association. Most recently, her reporting has also been supported by the Pulitzer Center. She is working on a story about psychedelics and American Muslims.
Faculty & Staff
Michael Pollan is a professor at the graduate school at UC Berkeley and the author of nine books, including How To Change Your Mind and This is Your Mind on Plants. His previous books include Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore's Dilemma and The Botany of Desire, all of which were New York Times Bestsellers. The Omnivore's Dilemma was named one of the ten best books of the year by both The New York Times and The Washington Post. Pollan teaches journalism in the English department at Harvard University and at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.
Malia Wollan is editor-in-chief of journalism projects at UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics and director of the UC Berkeley-11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. She is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine. Her work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, National Public Radio, KQED, New York Magazine, Fast Company, the Associated Press, PBS's Frontline/World and elsewhere.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, as long as you have three published or aired work samples, you are eligible to apply.
Unfortunately we cannot split reporting grants between multiple people at this time.
At this time we are focusing on print and audio journalists.
In the case of print submissions, clips should reported and written by you and published in a journalism outlet such as a magazine, newspaper, journal or digital media platform. In the case of audio, at least one clip should be a broadcast audio story reported by you, the others can published print stories.
Yes, we welcome international applications. We cannot assist with visas.
Yes. Please indicate in your application if you intend to report your story or stories for the outlet or publication you work for. Please also note whether your editors have committed to publishing the story or stories you're proposing to us.
We are looking for stories in English and can only accept grant applications and published clips in English. Our Selection Committee just does not have the capacity to evaluate applications in other languages.
Your references should be people who are familiar with your journalistic work, preferably editors or instructors you've worked with on stories.
No. However, a letter from a media outlet expressing interest in publishing or airing your story will substantially improve your chances of receiving a grant.
Yes. You are welcome to reapply if you did not receive a grant.
If you are proposing a story that requires you to report in a hostile or dangerous environment, we require that you and your potential outlets adhere to the A Culture of Safety Alliance principles. You must also have an assignment from a news organization that will assume full responsibility for your safety and welfare.
Yes. We will accept pitches for single, longform stories and/or a series of audio or print pieces. You still need to pitch us specific stories though, not general topics or themes.
If you get a reporting grant, you are not expected to track expenses or submit them to us. The money is meant to cover reporting costs and keep you whole while you do this work.
We expect stories to be completed six months from when reporting grants are issued.