Become a fellow

Applications are closed.

Being a fellow

From September to June, JSK Fellows step away from full-time professional obligations to work on their ideas for addressing journalism’s most urgent problems, while experiencing an array of opportunities available to members of Stanford’s campus community. 

Through individual coaching, tailored workshops and peer-to-peer learning, we help John S. Knight Journalism Fellows  grow as leaders and develop the resilience that is necessary to be effective change agents. We are especially interested in empowering those who are working to serve  underrepresented communities. 

JSK Fellows spend a lot of time together, participating in our program’s weekly events as well as organizing their own opportunities to collaborate and learn from each other. Fellows also explore the abundant resources on the Stanford campus and have the option of sitting in on some classes.

In selecting fellows and designing each 10-month program, we focus on creating a cohort experience that honors the rich diversity of the group and encourages a sense of fellowship and belonging.  If you are looking for a sabbatical or a solitary experience, the JSK Fellowships is not the program for you.

Diversity of background, experience and viewpoints is a fundamental value of our program. Applicants must demonstrate their ability and desire to work collaboratively and respectfully with people who bring  a range of ideas, perspectives and life experiences.

JSK Fellows also become part of our global network of alumni who are leading inclusive, impactful and innovative journalism that is making a difference in their communities.

Our fellows have access to classes at Stanford, but we are not an academic program, and we do not require applicants to have an academic degree. We encourage our fellows to explore the breadth of Stanford and Silicon Valley, which extends far beyond the classroom.

Stanford is home to some of the leading initiatives in journalism, communication and media, including the Computational Journalism Lab, the Virtual Human Interaction Lab and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation.

We do not award fellowships to support:

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

We focus on creating a cohort experience that honors the rich diversity of the group and leads to a sense of fellowship and belonging.

Our expectations of fellows

A JSK Fellowship is a full-time commitment. We provide fellows stipends and other benefits that allow them to set aside employment to focus on the fellowship experience. We expect our fellows to: 

  • Spend the academic terms in residence at Stanford, from September to mid-June.
  • Forgo professional work commitments and opportunities. 
  • Attend all JSK Fellowships events and activities. (We have events every week and occasional weekend and evening activities.) 
  • Publicly share—at regular intervals— experiences, lessons or insights.
  • Be respectful and civil in interactions with other JSK Fellows, staff and affiliates, as well as students, faculty and other members of the Stanford community.  (We do not tolerate “brilliant jerks.”)

Abide by the Stanford Code of Conduct, which is the university’s guide for ethical, professional and legal standards of behavior.

Applicants must demonstrate their ability and desire to work collaboratively and respectfully with people with a range of ideas and perspectives.

Who can be a fellow

We ask that applicants have at least five years of full-time professional work experience. We do not require applicants to have a college degree, or experience in traditional newsrooms. 

We consider applicants in these categories:

  • Journalists employed by a news organization or freelance journalists.
  • Journalism entrepreneurs and innovators.
  • Journalism business and management executives.

We generally 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 academic positions.

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

Benefits of a fellowship

We provide JSK Fellows with several financial benefits, including a stipend of $85,000 and a housing supplement of $5,000. We provide an additional supplement for fellows with children.  We also cover the cost of Stanford tuition for fellows and Stanford health insurance for fellows, spouses and children. We also help fellows find rental housing near campus.

Other benefits of a JSK Fellowship:

  • Access to some of the world’s most innovative thinkers and organizations.
  • Opportunities to sit in on classes taught by top Stanford professors and instructors in a wide range of specialties. 
  • A rich intellectual and cultural campus life, including live theater, music and dance performances and special lectures and events.
  • Fellowship social events where everyone, including spouses, partners and children of fellows, can get to know one another.
  • Spouses and partners may be able to sit in on some classes.  Fellows’ children attend excellent Palo Alto-area schools.
  • Exposure to the incredible diversity of world views, experiences and cultural traditions that fellows from around the world bring to the program.
  • New friendships, professional connections and skills that will continue beyond the 10 months fellows spend at Stanford.

Alumni voices