[May 26, 2021]
Every year for the past seven years, Bitch Media has taken on four brilliant Writing Fellows across multiple disciplines—pop culture criticism, technology, global feminism, and sexual politics. Each Fellow has received one-on-one mentorship, editing, and financial support to guide them towards the publication of a series of digital articles and a culminating longform print piece in Bitch magazine.
The fellowship program has been our pride and joy. But we’ve long had the feeling that we could still do so much more. In light of an industry that continues to needlessly pivot to meet the demands of fickle tech gods, whose business models continue to be “disrupted” in favor of stakeholders and at the cost of the very staff that prop it up—the requirements of a fellowship program that can adequately prepare its fellows to enter such an industry (or arm them with the confidence and intel to walk away) look different in 2021 than they did when we started.
So today we are announcing that the Bitch Media Fellowships for Writers program will be taking a gap year in 2022 in order to put all of our ideas into practice and come back with a revamped version. The application period that would typically open in June 2021 would be delayed until June 2022 for an incoming class of 2023 Fellows, skipping the class of 2022. That means that there will be no fellowship application process this summer 2021. The current class of 2021 Writing Fellows will finish out their fellowships as planned.
We are taking this year to honor the time and resources that such change requires, neither of which we can carve out while also simultaneously running the program. This pause will allow us to 1) redesign the offerings of the Fellowships for Writers Program to create more value and impact for our Fellows, 2) launch a large-scale fundraising initiative specifically for the Fellowships for Writers Program, and 3) assess the distribution of internal resources and staff capacity relating to the program to ensure its long-term sustainability and success.
We know that the Fellowships for Writers program doesn’t just mean a lot to us; it means a lot to our community as well. And we thank you so much for that care and attention. It is our hope that you will share in our excitement of what a reinvigorated and better-resourced fellowship program can look like and the impact those changes can have both on the future classes of fellows and feminist media as a whole. We will be in touch with updates throughout this gap year with ways to support the future iteration of the fellowship program and ask that you hold any questions until such time that those updates are made.
—Andi Zeisler, cofounder