The Arthur F. Burns Fellowship Program was established in 1988 in Germany by the Internationale Journalisten-Programme and was originally designed for young German journalists. In 1990, the fellowship expanded to include American journalists, making it a true exchange program. In 2013 it expanded to include Canadian journalists and in 2016 the program was opened to include developers, technologists, designers, UX experts and digital entrepreneurs. Named in honor of the late former U.S. ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany and former Federal Reserve Board chairman, the program fosters greater understanding of German-U.S./Canadian relations among future leaders of the news media. The program is administered jointly by the International Center for Journalists in Washington, D.C., and the Internationale Journalisten-Programme (IJP) in Konigstein, Germany.

The U.S. portion of The Arthur F. Burns Fellowship Program is funded exclusively by donations from individuals and private-sector corporations and foundations. A board of trustees presently headed by former The Washington Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli oversees fundraising and other program activities. Costs for the German participants are paid for by grants from German corporations, government agencies and international foundations.

One German and one North American current or former fellow are selected each year for the Arthur F. Burns journalism prize in the amount of €2,000 for the best published print or broadcast segment. Additionally, the George F. Kennan Award for best commentary on transatlantic relations is awarded annually in the amount of €2,000.

This program is conducted in two phases:

Phase I:

Orientation Session in Washington, D.C.
Before individual fellowships begin, U.S., Canadian, and German participants attend a one-week orientation in Washington, D.C., during the last week of July. Fellows attend meetings with prominent media and government representatives and discuss professional issues. In addition to giving fellows a thorough understanding of the Burns Fellowship program, the orientation fosters a spirit of community among the participants and attempts an assessment of the state of the transatlantic relationship.

Phase II:

Individual Fellowships in Germany and the United States

Option 1: Following the joint orientation in Washington, North American fellows participate in an intensive, two-week-long language training at language training institutes in fellows' host cities. Expenses for language training will be covered and details are made available after the announcement of selected fellows.

In August and September, fellows work as temporary staff members at host newspapers, magazines, and radio and television stations.

In addition to covering local news, fellows report on events for their employers back home, while learning more about their host country and its media. For broadcast journalists, the fellowship does not guarantee the availability of technical crews and equipment; fellows are encouraged to make private arrangements whenever possible. In most cases, participants also have the opportunity for work-related travel.

Individuals may prolong their stay overseas.

Host news organizations are chosen by IJP with assistance in the United States from ICFJ. Host organizations are selected on the basis of compatibility with a fellow's professional interests.

Option 2: As of the 2015 program, an additional format has been introduced allowing North American journalists the opportunity to work in Germany for five to six weeks, throughout August and part of September. Journalists who prefer this format will not be formally “hosted” by a German newsroom but will instead be connected with Burns program alumni who will mentor them during their time abroad. Fellows will focus on implementing a previously proposed major story or project for their home media. The story or project must be endorsed by an editor at a media outlet upon application and publication guaranteed. They will not participate in the two-week language training.

Option 3: As of the 2016 program, a third option has been introduced allowing North American developers, technologists, designers, UX experts and digital entrepreneurs the chance to spend two months at a German news organization or technology company. There they will work with their new colleagues while developing tools they can bring back to their own news organizations or companies. They will spend the first two-weeks of the Fellowship in the intensive language training.

Host news organizations are chosen by IJP with assistance in the United States from ICFJ. Host organizations are selected on the basis of compatibility with a fellow's professional interests.

Program Expenses
Each U.S. Fellow receives a $4,000 stipend to cover living expenses during the 9-week-long fellowship in Germany. Participants also receive $1,200 for travel expenses or a travel voucher, and the program also pays living expenses during the orientation in Washington, D.C. Those fellows on the 5-6 week program will receive an amount proportional to their fellowship length.