Applying for a Fellowship

JSK Fellows CollaborateThis section provides a preview of the JSK Fellowships application, some tips for completing an application, and an overview of our selection process.

We will begin accepting applications for the 2020-21 JSK Fellowships on Oct. 15.

Applications for international fellowships must be submitted by 11:59 p.m., Pacific Time, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The deadline for U.S. applications is 11:59 p.m., Pacific Time, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.

You don’t need to wait until our online application system opens to begin working on the materials you’ll need to submit. This guide explains the elements you’ll need to complete and the main questions in the application form.

Elements of a JSK application


Application form

Rather than lengthy, open-ended essays, we ask JSK Fellowship applicants to answer a series of questions that will help us learn about you and your reasons for seeking our fellowship.

Fellowship idea and professional goals

This section addresses the two primary dimensions of a JSK Fellowship: your idea for addressing an urgent problem in journalism and your goals for professional development and personal growth.

What idea to help journalism would you work on as a JSK Fellow? (up to 250 words)

Why is this idea important to you? (up to 250 words)

How would you use a JSK Fellowship to work on this idea? (up to 250 words)

By the end of your fellowship, what would you hope to have accomplished from your work on your idea? (up to 250 words)

What is one professional goal you would like to work on during a JSK Fellowship? (Tip: This goal should relate to your general professional development and should not focus on your fellowship idea.) (100 words)

Is there a second professional or personal goal you’d like to work on during a JSK Fellowship? (100 words)

What would you hope to learn from the other fellows in your group? (100 words)

What would you contribute to other fellows? (100 words)

Applicants who indicate on the application form that they want to be considered for our joint fellowship with the Stanford Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Institute must respond to these two questions:

What you would hope to contribute to the field of journalism by being a JSK-HAI Fellow? (150 words)

Please describe any experience you have had covering AI or working on journalistic projects that used AI. (150 words)


Please help us get to know you by telling us a little about yourself. What experiences or people have had a significant impact on you personally and professionally? What motivates you to want to work in journalism today? (750 words)

International applicants will also need to answer these two questions:

What is the current journalism environment in the country where you are working? How does this impact or influence your work? (250 words)

Have you spent time in the U.S. previously? When and why? (150 words)

U.S. applicants also must answer these two questions: 

What do you believe is the most urgent challenge in journalism today? (250 words)

Why do you view it as the most urgent? (Tip: We’re looking for your perspective and thoughts, not just a recitation of analysis from journalism experts.)   (250 words)


1-minute selfie video

We ask you to describe your fellowship idea and why it is important to you in a 1-minute “selfie” video. We are not expecting great production values; webcam or mobile phone videos are encouraged.


Three recommendation letters

  • If you are working in an organization, one letter should be from your supervisor; if you are working independently or you are the founder/highest-ranking leader in an organization, one letter should be from someone who has worked closely with you on a regular basis. 
  • Choose people who know you and your work well; this matters more than having recommenders who are well known or prominent journalism executives who haven’t worked closely with you. 
  • Your recommenders should address in their letter the idea you want to work on as a JSK Fellow and explain why you are well-suited to pursue the idea. 
  • For international applicants, at least one recommender should attest to your proficiency in English in their letter.


Three work samples

  • Work samples should be from the previous 12 months. They can be a combination of formats (digital, print, broadcast.)
  • If you are a manager or a journalism entrepreneur, you should submit samples that demonstrate your work. For instance, an editor might submit stories they supervised, a news start-up founder might submit a product or story produced by their team.
  • For video, audio and digital samples, submit a URL to the work. (Please do not submit more than one hour, total, of audio or video.)
  • Samples that are primarily text can be submitted as PDFs.
  • For any sample that is not in English, you must include a translation, or provide a brief summary in English that explains the work.


Tips for a strong application

  • Familiarize yourself with the JSK Fellowships’ mission, values and priorities. You can learn about JSK by following our social media posts and reading the Medium posts of current and recent fellows.
  • Start working on your application early. Give yourself time to draft answers to the questions, ask a friend or mentor to review them and give you feedback.
  • Ask a colleague or friend to proofread your text before you submit your application.
  • For your recommendation letters:
    • Choose people who know you and your work well.
    • Share your fellowship idea with them and ask that they speak to why you would be a good person to work on the idea.
    • Ask them early to give them plenty of time to write the best letter they can for you. (Note: They must upload their letters to our online application system and to start that process, you must enter their basic information into your online application.)
    • Make sure your recommenders understand the focus of our program. We suggest you share with them links to our website and social media channels.
  • Pay attention to our social channels for updates about Twitter chats we’ll be having to answer questions about the application and our program.

Questions? Email us at Good luck!