There's comics journalism, then there's comic journalism. There's a growing number of individuals who are using comics to do journalism, and they're increasingly being noticed by the journalism community at large. New York-based cartoonist Josh Neufeld has been on that trail for years with A.D.: New Orleans After The Deluge and The Influencing Machine, and now he's received a rare recognition with the offering of a Knight-Wallace Fellowship.
The Knight-Wallace Fellowships is offered by the Universe of Michigan to, as their website states, "exceptional journalists from the U.S. and abroad to share this life-changing experience." The fellowship is a offer for a full academic year of sabbatical studies at the University's campus, with twice-weekly seminars and other educational opportunities. As a bonus, Neufeld and the other fellows will make two extended international tours to Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Istanbul.
"My study plan is to extensively research Bahrain’s Pearl Revolution, which I did a short piece about for Cartoon Movement," Neufeld said in an e-mail. "I plan on taking courses in the history of the Persian Gulf, Islam (specifically the Sunni-Shia divide), and the language and culture of the region. The ultimate goal is to produce a long-form comics-format book on the topic."
Neufeld's piece in Cartoon Movement, "Bahrain: Lines In Ink, Lines In The Sand," was nominated for an Eisner and was later translated into both Persian and Italian. Neufeld is the first comics journalist to be offered this fellowship, and the second comics journalist to receive any sort of American journalism fellowship.