JSK John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships At Stanford University, USA

Publish Date: Nov 02, 2016

Deadline: Dec 01, 2016

About The Fellowship

Become a Fellow

Have questions about applying for a JSK Fellowship? Join our live Q&A with JSK Director Dawn Garcia and current fellows on Nov. 3.

A JSK Fellowship is a life-changing experience. Each year, we select fellows from around the world and bring them together for 10 months (September to June) at Stanford University, in the heart of Silicon Valley.

We are looking for people who want to be deeply engaged in exploring solutions to the biggest challenges facing journalism. For our 2017-18 class of fellows, we will consider applicants who want to pursue questions that fall within one of these topic areas:

(We’re including some hypothetical questions as examples — you should propose any question you want to pursue that you think fits into one of these topic areas.)

Data Journalism, Algorithms, Info Visualization and Artificial Intelligence (e.g., How might we detect newsworthy anomalies and insights into campaign finance data?)

Emerging Technology, including Drones, Sensors, and Virtual Reality (e.g., How might we harness environmental sensor data to discover stories?)

Audience Engagement and Diverse Viewpoints (e.g., How might we use social media to engage audiences with diverse perspectives?)

Free Speech and Democracy (e.g., How might we make reporting in an emerging democracy more free, safe and secure?)

News Ecosystem and Business Models (e.g., How might we create new funding revenue for original investigative work?)

Fellows who have articulated questions in the same topic area will be teamed up to collaborate throughout the year. Successful applicants will have demonstrated an ability and desire to work collaboratively.

We want fellows who arrive at Stanford with more questions than answers, and who are open to having their assumptions and ideas challenged.

Through individual and group coaching, as well as special workshops and weekly events, we help our fellows become leaders and change agents to re-imagine journalism’s future.

Diversity of background, experience and viewpoints is a fundamental value of our program.

If you are looking for a sabbatical or a solitary experience, this is not the program for you. JSK Fellows spend a significant portion of their time pursuing projects and participating together in weekly and special events we organize, while also taking advantage of other activities at Stanford and in Silicon Valley. They will have access to classes at Stanford, but we are not a graduate program. Those who are seeking primarily an academic experience would not be a good fit for our fellowship.

We do not award fellowships to support:

  • Reporting projects
  • Academic research projects/publishing
  • Book projects
  • Startups and/or founders seeking a business accelerator experience.

We enthusiastically include spouses, partners and families in fellowship life.

You need to meet a few eligibility requirements. Applications are accepted online.

Being a Fellow

JSK fellows collaborateJSK Fellows spend their time at Stanford engaged in exploring solutions to the biggest challenges facing journalism. They do this by spending a significant portion of their time together, exploring innovation ideas that fall within one of five topic areas that are the focus of our program. (Learn more about these topic areas on the Become a Fellow page.)

JSK Fellows also have the opportunity to draw on the richness of knowledge and expertise at Stanford and in Silicon Valley. They sit in on classes, attend events on campus, connect with experts in the university’s many research institutes and explore many avenues for connecting with innovative thinkers and doers in Silicon Valley.

Our job is to provide fellows with a unique opportunity: 10 months at Stanford, funding to live during their fellowship and the freedom to pursue the many opportunities for learning and experiences on an amazing, stimulating campus and in the San Francisco Bay Area. We also support fellows’ efforts through individual and group coaching, as well as special workshops and weekly events to bring them together to learn from each other and from thought-leaders in creativity, innovation, technology and journalism.

The most valuable asset we offer JSK Fellows is other fellows. They get advice and find mentors among current and former fellows.

A JSK Fellow’s job is to meet a few expectations we have and make the most of the opportunity. This means taking initiative and not waiting on people or organizations to come to you — or our program staff to arrange things for you. The most successful fellows reach out on their own, even before they arrive at Stanford, to seek out and make connections.

Once we select fellows, we ask them to agree to meet these conditions:

  • Spend the academic terms in residence at Stanford from September to June. (This means you are doing your fellowship at Stanford, not in Hawaii, on the road or at home.) You will have big vacation breaks during your fellowship year — much of December and two weeks in March — so we expect you to keep other time away to a minimum. )
  • Participate fully in JSK fellowships activities. That means attending all JSK Fellowships events, workshops and activities; we have two to three events a week. Some of the most important relationships and learning will happen within the fellowship itself.
  • Commit yourself to the fellowship rather than to regular professional work. If selected, your full-time job is to be a JSK Fellow. We require fellows to take a leave from their jobs or freelance/consulting commitments to devote their energy to the fellowship.
  • Focus on your fellowship proposal throughout the year. In addition to our events and some classes at Stanford, your work on a challenge facing journalism should occupy half or more of your time and energy.
  • Share your fellowship. Be ready to share publicly your fellowship experiences, work and insights you’ve gained through the year, and the fruits of your efforts near the end of the program year.

Who can be a Fellow?

Workshop at the Institute for the FutureWe have a few eligibility criteria; please review them carefully before applying. If you then have questions, email info@kf.stanford.edu. For more information about the stipend and other benefits, see Benefits of a Fellowship.


U.S. applicants for a JSK Fellowship ideally have at least seven years of full-time professional experience; international applicants ideally have at least five years. But we also consider less experienced applicants with outstanding achievements.

No college degree is required.

Professional background

We consider applicants who fall into one or more of these categories:

  • Journalists employed by a news organization or journalism freelancers
  • Journalism entrepreneurs and innovators
  • Journalism business and management executives

Our definitions:

  • Journalists – Those who write or edit news, commentary, or editorials; critics and reviewers, photojournalists, video journalists, designers, multimedia journalists, editorial cartoonists and supervising editors, anchors, and producers. They may be working for newspapers, wire services, television or radio news departments, web sites, magazines that cover news, commentary or public affairs, news-related startups, or as freelance or independent journalists.
  • Journalism entrepreneurs and innovators – Those whose work or ideas have the potential for great journalistic impact. This group includes consultants.
  • Journalism business and management executives – Those whose work influences editorial quality, such as publishers, general managers, and station managers.
  • We do not accept applications from people working in public information or public relations jobs, for trade and house newsletters or magazines, for government agencies, or in teaching jobs.

Benefits of a Fellowship

Walk to the dishEach year, up to 20 journalists from all over the world come together as JSK Fellows for 10 months of learning, collaborating, creating and fun. We enthusiastically include families in fellowship life.

To help fellows get the most out of their year, we provide several financial benefits, including a stipend of $75,000. In addition to this stipend, for fellows with young children we provide a child care supplement of $15,000 to $40,000, based on the number of children who come to Stanford for the year. Separately, we cover the cost of Stanford tuition and Stanford health care for fellows and their families, ranging from about $20,000 to $28,000.

The total financial support to fellows ranges from $95,000 to $143,000.

Other benefits of a JSK Fellowship:

  • Access to some of the world’s most innovative thinkers and organizations, from technology giants to hot new startups to Stanford’s 100-plus special institutes and centers.
  • Opportunities to join classes taught by top-notch Stanford professors and instructors in a wide range of specialties. It is not uncommon for classes to be taught by people who also are working in the private sector.
  • A rich intellectual and cultural campus life, including live theater, music and dance performances and special lectures and events.
  • Fellowship social events where everyone can get to know one another. A number of these events also are open to fellows’ children.
  • Spouses and partners are eligible to take classes and attend fellowship seminars just as the fellows do. Fellows’ children can attend excellent Palo Alto-area schools and are included in some special fellowship social activities.
  • Exposure to the incredible diversity of world views, experiences and cultural traditions that about 20 fellows from all over the world bring to the program.
  • New friendships, professional connections and entrepreneurial skills that will continue beyond your 10 months with us.

Applications for the 2017-18 JSK Fellowships are open. The deadline for applying is December 1, 2016.

To APPLY click "Further official information" below and fill the application form.

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