Request for Applications for Foreign Press Centers Media Co-ops and Small Reporting Tours Producers 

Request for Applications

Meridian International Center seeks applications from experienced producers with demonstrated interest in engaging with foreign media and supporting emerging journalists. Producers working with Meridian have the unique opportunity to support foreign journalists and video production teams as they travel throughout the United States to interview policymakers, activists, private sector leaders, and everyday citizens that will help them tell a story of the United States through their lens. Interested applicants can review previous media exchange programs here.

Successful applicants will join a nationwide roster of pre-approved producers who are eligible to submit expressions of interest to contract with Meridian on a case-by-case basis to facilitate Foreign Press Centers (FPC) Media Co-ops and Small Reporting Tours (SRTs), which are international media productions facilitated by the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Press Centers to assist foreign media outlets to report on location in the United States.

Stakeholders

The Foreign Press Centers, part of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Global Public Affairs, operates to deepen global understanding of U.S. policy, society, culture, and values through engagement with foreign media. With locations in both Washington D.C. and New York City, the FPCs promote the depth, accuracy, and balance of foreign reporting from the U.S. by providing direct access to authoritative American information sources.

Meridian International Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit diplomacy center that connects leaders through culture and collaboration to drive solutions for global challenges. Founded 60 years ago, Meridian has equipped thousands of leaders with the networks, insights, and cultural context essential for non-partisan work on shared issues. Since 2006, Meridian has supported FPC’s reporting tours and media-co-ops, implementing over 60 projects annually - on topics such as Indo-Pacific prosperity, Disinformation, Energy Security, and Media Literacy - that bring journalists from across the world to report from the United States.

Through a cooperative agreement, Meridian works directly with FPC to develop and implement program policies, schedule, and assign overlapping programs, contract with a pool of U.S.-based producers responsible for program content, and ensure full compliance with U.S. government travel regulations and accurate accounting of assigned project budgets. Meridian has 3 full-time team members on FPC related projects.

Overview of Media Co-ops and Small Reporting Tours

Media Co-ops provide a small team of foreign video content producers – typically a reporter and a cameraperson – an opportunity to report on the United States from the United States. Developed in partnership with U.S. embassies abroad on topics of mutual interest, these Co-ops enable these small video production teams to travel throughout the U.S. to interview the policymakers, activists, professionals, and everyday citizens that will help them communicate these stories to their audiences at home, through their lens, in unique and compelling ways.

Production teams travel to the United States for a maximum of 10 days, and travel with an assigned contracted producer to up to three locations. During these visits, they conduct interviews with subject-matter experts and film footage to support their work. They are expected to file stories as a result of these meetings, to be aired/viewed in their home countries.

Small Reporting Tours are developed to inform foreign media on key policy themes and aspects of American society, culture, and politics. A group of 8-10 international journalists from several outlets, and usually representing several countries, travel to the United States. The tours range from one-day programs in the Washington, D.C., and New York metro areas, to up to 10 days around the country and visiting three different locations. Previous themes have included regional economic integration, counterterrorism, energy, U.S. politics, trade promotion, climate issues, media literacy, and more.

Media Co-ops and SRTs result in a variety of media products, including social media and other online content, newspaper and magazine articles, radio and TV broadcasts, news features, and documentaries. Program participants also return to their media outlets with enhanced skills in media production and knowledge of U.S. reporting and production techniques.

Role of the Producer

Producers are solicited by the FPCs who send a notice to all approved producers to solicit interest in a specific FPC project. They will receive details on the proposed project, including potential travel locations, and information on the journalist(s) and outlet. Producers must reply within the stated deadline for consideration. FPCs will inform the producer of selection within one week of the proposed deadline. Meridian will then arrange the project contract with the producer.

Contracted producers collaborate with the FPC, Meridian, and U.S. Embassies to plan, coordinate, and implement all details of the project, including the day-to-day logistical and administrative aspects of the program.

Specifically, the producer facilitates all aspects of the production for both Media Co-ops and SRTs — including selecting shoot locations, securing filming permits, and scheduling interviews— providing access that foreign journalists could not otherwise obtain on their own in a short trip to the United States. Producers adhere to the established timelines for participating in planning calls and submitting draft and finalized budgets and program schedules.

Upon the journalists’ arrival, producers meet them at the U.S. Port of Entry, and escort them for the duration of the program dates. They ensure the program meets the journalists’ reporting needs, and work with Meridian to troubleshoot and provide assistance on any logistical and/or administrative matters that may arise during the program.

Producers ensure that the program's goals are met and convey to journalists the specific details and context of each appointment. For example, producers inform the journalists if the interview is on or off-the record, alert them to any filming restrictions for a shoot location, and provide relevant context for each meeting.  They also serve as cultural liaisons for the journalists, many of whom have not previously traveled to the United States.

Contractual Terms

For each individual project, selected producers will sign a contract for their services with Meridian International Center and will receive payment and reimbursement for any approved costs incurred. Selected producers will be expected to agree to standard terms and conditions which include compliance with Uniform Guidance and additional program protocols.

A copy of these terms can be viewed here

Application Requirements

Producers interested in applying should submit the following materials:

  1. A project overview with suggestions and ideas on how to structure an FPC Media Co-op and/or Small Reporting Tour. This may include examples of proposed schedules, resources to facilitate production, and proposed tools to track tour objectives, etc.
  2. Proposed budget for a 10-day program with 2-3 foreign journalists, traveling to three cities in the Continental U.S.
  3. Summary of relevant work experience, including any work with international media (may be in the form of a CV).
  4. Links to examples of past work.
  5. Earliest date of availability for future projects
  6. Letters of support may be included but are not required.

Criteria for Selection

Producers will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Program design creativity
  • Media production experience
  • Experience working with international media
  • Experience implementing federally funded programs

Next Steps

Applications should be submitted by 5:00 pm Eastern Time on Friday, October 14, 2022, to the Meridian / FPC team at journalismfpc@meridian.org.

Meridian will work with the FPC to review all submitted applications and will conduct interviews with select producers. Following the interviews, producers will be informed if they have been added to the group of approved producers to implement FPC-funded programs. For each new project, the FPC will invite approved producers to submit expressions of interest.

Any questions regarding the program or applications should be submitted to journalismfpc@meridian.org.