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Fred Rogers Productions Launches Second Writers’ Neighborhood Initiative

The five-year program will support new writers from underrepresented racial groups building their careers in children’s media; application submissions being accepted May 1-15.

Fred Rogers Productions, the iconic children’s media organization behind multiple Emmy-winning PBS KIDS series, has formed the Writers’ Neighborhood, a five-year initiative focused on identifying and supporting new and emerging writers from underrepresented racial groups build careers in children’s media. The eight-week program aims to help hone the skills and broaden the experience of talented creatives who better represent the increasingly diverse audience for the company’s own hit series, like Daniel Tiger’s NeighborhoodAlma’s Way, and Donkey Hodie, as well as that of the broader children’s media industry. In the wake of its successful pilot in fall 2022, the application period for the program’s second cohort runs May 1-15. 

The program will welcome eight fellows per cohort as they learn to improve their intentionality in their writing process, determine context for a series when they are not on a production staff, and interpret and take notes, among other important skills, including how to find and secure jobs in the field.

Beyond the eight-week program, Fred Rogers Productions will offer additional mentorship connections and opportunities to engage in industry activities and events. Many of the fellows who participated in last year’s pilot program now write episodes for series currently in production.

The media company will host an application information webinar on April 27. Potential applicants can find more information on LinkedIn. The Writers’ Neighborhood eligibility requirements include:

  • Must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • Must be 21 or older as of the entry date.
  • Have not had extensive media writing experience such as having written more than four episodes for a United States-based network or cable scripted/narrative series.
  • Identify with an underrepresented racial group (Asian, Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American/Indigenous, Middle Eastern/North African, or multiracial). 

“Many writers in children's media are freelancers, so we designed the Writers' Neighborhood with a dual focus of developing your craft and building your career," said Ellen Doherty, Chief Creative Officer, Fred Rogers Productions. “Knowing how to write a good story or develop engaging characters is a completely different skill set from finding work, asking for and understanding feedback, or cultivating relationships, and we want to help our fellows gain experience on all fronts.”

Source: Fred Rogers Productions

Whitney Whitener's picture

Whitney is a freelance writer focusing on VFX-driven fantasy film & TV as well as preschool animation.