Being a fellow
Each year from September to June, JSK Fellows spend their time on individual and collaborative projects to address the most urgent problems in journalism. Fellows also participate in special workshops and weekly events, explore the abundant resources on the Stanford campus and in Silicon Valley, and have the option of sitting in on classes.
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.
If you are looking for a sabbatical or a solitary experience, the JSK Fellowships is not the program for you.
Applicants should propose a project that is focused on addressing some aspect of what we believe are the most urgent problems facing journalism:
- Challenging Misinformation and Disinformation
- Holding the Powerful Accountable
- Eradicating News Deserts and Strengthening Local News
- Fighting Bias, Intolerance and Injustice
We expect that JSK Fellows will work on a range of issues in pursuing their projects, such as harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, improving audience engagement, or creating new business models, and that they may leverage technology of all kinds.
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 with a range of ideas and perspectives.
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.
We do not award fellowships to support:
- Reporting projects.
- Academic research projects.
- Book projects.
- Startups and founders seeking a business accelerator experience
Applicants must demonstrate their ability and desire to work collaboratively and respectfully with people with a range of ideas and perspectives.
Life of a fellow
JSK Fellows sit in on classes, attend events on campus, connect with experts in the university’s many research institutes and consult innovative thinkers and doers throughout Silicon Valley.
A JSK Fellow’s job during their 10 months at Stanford is to meet the expectations of the program and to make the most of the opportunity. The most successful fellows take initiative and seek out people who can help them explore their questions and make connections, even before they arrive at Stanford.
We ask fellows to agree to these conditions:
- Spend the academic terms in residence at Stanford from September to June. (This means time at Stanford, not in Hawaii, on the road or at home.) Fellows receive long breaks during the fellowship year — most of December and two weeks in March — so we expect them to minimize other time away.
- Participate fully in JSK activities. This means attending all JSK events and workshops; we have two to three events a week. Some of the most important relationships and learning happen within the fellowship program itself.
- Commit to the fellowship rather than to regular professional work. We require fellows to take a leave from their jobs and their freelancing and consulting commitments to devote their full energy to the fellowship.
- Focus on the fellowship project throughout the year. In addition to our events and some classes at Stanford, fellows work on a challenge facing journalism, which should occupy at least half of their time and energy.
- Share the fellowship experience and lessons. We expect fellows to share publicly the experiences, work and insights they gain throughout the year, and the results of their efforts near the end of the academic year. We encourage and support that sharing even after the year is over.
Applicants should propose a project they genuinely care about that helps address an urgent problem in journalism. Authenticity is essential.
Who can be a fellow
U.S. applicants typically have at least seven years of full-time professional experience; international applicants typically have at least five years of experience. We will consider less experienced applicants who have outstanding achievements. We do not require applicants to have a college degree.
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. In addition to this stipend, we provide a supplement for fellows with children. We also cover the cost of Stanford tuition and Stanford health care for fellows, spouses and children. We also help fellows find housing.
Other benefits of a JSK Fellowship:
- Access to some of the world’s most innovative thinkers and organizations.
- Opportunities to join 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 can get to know one another.
- Spouses and partners are eligible to take some classes and attend many fellowship events. Fellows’ children attend excellent Palo Alto-area schools and are included in some fellowship social activities (See: JSK Fellowship experience enriches the lives of the entire family).
- Exposure to the incredible diversity of world views, experiences and cultural traditions that fellows from all over the world bring to the program.
- New friendships, professional connections and skills that will continue beyond the 10 months fellows spend at Stanford.