About the summer school
From the morning of Wednesday, July 12 to the afternoon of Friday, July 14, 2017, the Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) will sponsor its first Social Science Summer Institute for Journalists. The three-day workshop will be held at RSF. The co-organizers and principal faculty of the Institute are Nicholas Lemann and Tali Woodward (Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism).
The Russell Sage Foundation, founded in 1907 “for the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States,” is the country’s preeminent funder of social science research. In recent years, it has sponsored pioneering research on the growth of economic inequality and its consequences, inequities in educational achievement and attainment, the impacts of immigration, and racial tensions over urban policing. These and similar topics are frequent subjects of work by journalists, but many journalists are not trained in how to use the rich resources of social science to enhance their work. The summer institute aims to provide that training.
The institute will teach journalists how to locate the best available social science research on their topics quickly, how to identify and interact fruitfully with leading experts, and how to read academic publications for their journalistic relevance. Beyond that, we believe that some of the ways social scientists conduct inquiries can be adapted by journalists to their own work. Social science concepts like study design, hypothesis testing, causation and correlation, independent and dependent variables, false positives and false negatives, inductive and deductive reasoning, and the “denominator problem” all have their uses not just for understanding research, but in doing journalism. The workshop will also include skills instruction in social-science techniques that journalists can understand or in some cases use themselves. These might include statistical literacy, ethnography, and conducting literature reviews.
The program will involve instructional sessions in the morning and application-oriented sessions in the afternoon. Guest speakers, both journalists and social scientists, will help with both the instructional and application aspects of the program, and will point journalists toward current topics where interaction with social science may be useful.
Participation is restricted to U.S.-based journalists. Most participant costs during the workshop, including accommodation, meals and economy-class travel expenses will be covered directly or reimbursed by the foundation. About 15-20 participants will be invited. Accepted applicants must agree to attend all sessions of the three-day program.
There is no application form or program information beyond this announcement. To apply, send (i) an abbreviated curriculum vitae, (ii) a statement (maximum three pages) describing both your current work and your interest in social science research (especially as it relates to RSF research programs in Social Inequality, Behavioral Economics, Future of Work, the Social, Political and Economic Effects of the Affordable Care Act and Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration), and (iii) writing samples (no more than 20 pages total). All applications must include an e-mail and an alternative means of contact (e.g., phone number). Send your CV, statement, and writing samples (all collapsed into a single pdf file) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete applications must be received by Friday, March 31 at 11am Pacific Time. We will notify applicants solely through e-mail, by May 1 and will ask participants to confirm their participation very soon thereafter. Inquiries can be sent to email@example.com.
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