Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ for the John S. Knight Community Impact Fellowship program

What is the JSK Community Impact Fellowship?

This is a special remote fellowship, launched in 2020, to support the development of journalism that serves local communities of color in the United States. Community Impact Fellows will each work to meet information needs in their local community while also participating virtually in weekly cohort meetings. Through individual coaching, workshops and peer-to-peer learning, the JSK Fellowships helps fellows identify the tools and mindsets needed to effectively lead in times of change and uncertainty.

Successful projects could explore new approaches to reporting and information gathering or delivering news and information, and have long-term strategic benefits for these communities and the journalism industry at large.

Who may apply?

Journalists with digital-native and legacy news organizations, independent journalists, and people in communities who are already working on information projects.

Applicants must already be authorized to work in the United States. You should have at least three years of full-time professional experience.

What are the dates for the JSK Community Impact Fellowship program?

The program year will begin Sept. 7, 2021, and will end on June 3, 2022.

I am not a journalist. May I apply for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship?

We realize there may be people working on information needs in communities who are not traditional journalists. If you have a track record of this work, and the ability to have significant community impact, you may apply for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship.

I would like to do a reporting project. May I apply for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship?

No. This is not a reporting fellowship. Reporting projects are ineligible for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship, though reported work may be part of your project deliverables. This fellowship focuses on strategic journalism experiments with demonstrable community impact.

Stanford is a great research university. May I apply with an academic research project?

No. Academic research projects are ineligible for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship.

I would like support for my book project. May I apply for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship?

No. Book projects are ineligible for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship.

I have a startup and we are looking for financial investment or venture capital support for our business. May I apply for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship?

No. If you are seeking a business accelerator experience, you should not apply for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship.

I am an alumnus of the JSK Fellowship program. May I apply for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship?

No. JSK alumni are ineligible to apply for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship. 

I applied for a residential JSK Fellowship previously, but I did not get it. May I apply for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship?

Yes. However, every application cycle is different, and this fellowship is not merely a virtual version of our on-campus fellowship. Please review the information on our Become a fellow page to decide if the focus and goals of this remote fellowship is program are a good match for your goals in seeking a fellowship.

I was a journalism fellow at another university. May I apply for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship?

Yes. Alumni of journalism fellowship programs at universities other than Stanford may apply for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship.

Do I need a college degree to apply for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship?

No. We are not an academic program. We do not require you to have a college degree.

Will JSK Community Impact Fellows visit Stanford University during this fellowship?

At this time, it is not known when the university will fully resume on-campus events and activities open to visitors. If public health guidance and conditions allow, we would explore bringing fellows together on campus for a few days sometime in the second half of the program.

What are the benefits of being a JSK Community Impact Fellow?

JSK Community Impact Fellows will be welcomed as full members of the JSK network and Stanford virtual community. You’ll benefit from individual coaching and a dedicated project adviser focused on your success and the success of your project. You’ll also join a cohort of supportive professionals working to help journalism better serve an array of U.S. communities. 

JSK Community Impact Fellows who remain employed with their organizations during the fellowship year will receive a stipend of $55,000; JSK Community Impact Fellows who are independent will receive a stipend of $75,000. Each fellow will receive an additional $10,000 for the year to cover health care insurance and project expenses.

Other benefits of a JSK Community Impact Fellowship:

  • Biweekly virtual meetings with a member of the JSK leadership team who is your dedicated professional and project adviser.
  • Weekly virtual meetings with members of your cohort to share progress, brainstorm and build collaborations.
  • Leadership workshops designed for the cohort’s needs.
  • The possibility of taking professional and personal development classes offered virtually by the Stanford Continuing Studies program.
  • New friendships, professional connections and skills that will continue beyond the fellowship.
  • Eligibility to apply in future years for a residential JSK Fellowship.

If I am selected for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship, what obligations will I have to the program?

You will be expected to dedicate yourself full time to a fellowship project that has community impact. We do not anticipate that all projects will conclude by the end of the fellowship, since the projects may well be part of an applicant’s ongoing work. 

You must attend weekly Zoom meetings with your cohort, biweekly advising sessions with your JSK adviser, and occasionally other virtual meetings JSK schedules. If you need to miss a meeting, you should obtain permission from your adviser ahead of time.  

Though fellows will work remotely, you must demonstrate the ability and desire to work collaboratively and respectfully with people with a range of ideas and perspectives. You will be expected to adhere to the Stanford Code of Conduct and to a specific JSK Code of Conduct. 

Fellows will be required to publicly share the work and insights they gain throughout the year. You should expect to write at least one Medium post each quarter outlining your progress. We may require a short video or other presentation of your work near the end of your fellowship. 

Failure to adhere to the codes of conduct or to make satisfactory progress on a project may result in early termination of  your JSK Community Impact Fellowship.

JSK introduced four call-to-action themes several years ago. Must my work fit one of the themes?

At least one of JSK’s themes should apply to your project. You will be required to provide this information as part of your application. The four themes are:

  • Challenging Misinformation and Disinformation
  • Holding the Powerful Accountable
  • Eradicating News Deserts and Strengthening Local News
  • Fighting Bias, Intolerance and Injustice

Do I have to take a leave of absence from my job?

If you are currently employed, you will not be expected or encouraged to leave your organization. Ideally, employer is excited about your project and committed to ensuring you have time to pursue it within your work week. If you are selected for final consideration for a fellowship, we’ll ask you to help us confirm your employer’s support for your candidacy.

What are some examples of the types of projects JSK is interested in supporting with Community Impact Fellowships? 

Check out the profiles of the 2020-21 fellows. Another good resource is this collection of the Medium posts they’re writing this year.

What references must I include with my application for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship?

You must provide the names and contact information for two professional references. 

These should be people who can speak about your experience and qualities that will help you be a successful fellow and your commitment to the community you are seeking to help with your project.

How many JSK Community Impact Fellows will you select?

We will select up to 12 JSK Community Impact Fellows.

When is the application deadline for the JSK Community Impact Fellowships?

Applications are due by noon PDT on Thursday, May 27, 2021.

Do I have to do an interview for a JSK Community Impact Fellowship?

We will conduct virtual interviews with our top candidates in late June and early July. If you are among this group, we will reach out to you to schedule your interview.

When will you announce the JSK Community Impact Fellows?

We plan to announce the fellows in early August 2021.