April 5, 2010
Emerson Brown, NPR



NPR and the John Alexander Project have collaborated to launch the Above the Fray Fellowship -- a joint international reporting fellowship in memory of John Alexander, an extraordinary young journalist who died of sudden heart failure while on assignment in Chongqing, China in 2007. Alexander was reporting for Koppel on Discovery at the time; he also previously worked for NPR.

The Above the Fray Fellowship is designed to give a promising journalist the opportunity to cover important but under-reported stories from a location abroad. The Fellow will be selected based on a winning proposal to report from a region lacking significant mainstream media attention. The selected individual will spend three months in the field, filing on-air and online stories for NPR, while cultivating a deeper understanding of the region and its inhabitants.

NPR and the John Alexander Project are accepting applications now through July 1, 2010. Professional journalists with at least three but no more than five years experience are eligible to apply; one Fellow will be selected and begin in the fall. Forms, requirements and additional details about the Fellowship and John Alexander can be found at www.thejohnalexanderproject.org

"As a young journalist, John went out of his way to engage with individuals from all walks of life, all the while offering guidance and support to those coming up in the industry," recalls Ted Koppel. "Colleagues remember his avid curiosity – he was constantly in motion, fearlessly probing, and full of ideas – which led me to dub him an 'intellectual hummingbird.'"

"Despite NPR's significant reporting presence aboard, international coverage on the whole is shrinking, and many important stories are not receiving much needed attention," says NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller. "This fellowship will both enhance NPR’s coverage and provide the next generation of journalists the training and experience they need to cover foreign affairs."

The John Alexander Project Board of Advisors includes Koppel; Tom Bettag, CNN Senior Executive Producer for State of the Union with Candy Crowley and Reliable Sources; Richard L. Harris, Managing Editor of Inside E Street and former Afternoon Programming Director at NPR; Jonathan King, Executive Vice President of Production for Participant Media; Martha Raddatz, ABC News Chief Foreign Correspondent; and Ari Shapiro, NPR White House Correspondent.