Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ for the special John S. Knight Community Impact Fellowship program

What is the JSK Community Impact Fellowship?

We are creating a remote fellowship model specific for the upcoming 2020-2021 cycle. You should not consider any information you have previously received about our fellowship program as a guide.

The JSK Community Impact Fellows will craft and develop practical solutions that address the flaws in how our industry serves communities of color in the United States. You should plan to work remotely on projects to address information gaps in those communities. Projects should focus on journalism experiments that help move community knowledge or engagement forward in a significant way.

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

Who may apply?

Journalists with legacy and digital-native 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. 14, 2020, and will end on May 14, 2021.

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 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 unlike anything we have done before. Your previous application materials are not suitable for this opportunity, so you will need to review the JSK Community Impact Fellowship application and submit new materials. There are no exceptions. 

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?

Based on Santa Clara County public health guidance and Stanford University restrictions, we are not planning for any in-person activities during the fellowship year.

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 community, with virtual access to the resources of a world-class university. 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. 

Fellows who remain employed with their organizations during the fellowship year will receive a stipend of $50,000 paid in monthly installments; you may request additional support for health care insurance and project expenses subject to JSK review. 

JSK Community Impact Fellows who are independent will receive a stipend of $70,000 paid in monthly installments, plus 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 dedicated professional and project adviser.
  • Biweekly virtual meetings with members of your cohort to share progress, brainstorm and build collaborations.
  • Virtual seminars with journalism, business and technology leaders.
  • Opportunities to occasionally join virtual classes taught by top Stanford professors and instructors in a wide range of specialties. (We are not an academic program and classes are not required.)
  • New friendships, professional connections and skills that will continue beyond the nine-month 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 expect you to show progress on your project according to the timeline you provide with your application. 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 biweekly meetings with your cohort, advising sessions with your JSK adviser, and other virtual meetings JSK schedules. You will receive plenty of notice. 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 move or take a leave of absence from my job?

You should not plan to move as part of a JSK Community Impact Fellowship since the opportunity is specifically for remote work in your community. 

If you are currently employed, you will not be expected or encouraged to leave your organization. Ideally, your project should be endorsed and supported by your employer.

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.

The traditional residential JSK Fellowship includes Stanford access for spouses and partners. Does the same apply for the JSK Community Impact Fellowship experience?

No. The JSK Community Impact Fellowship is specifically for the fellow. There is no Stanford access for spouses and partners. 

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 Wednesday, July 22, 2020.

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

We will conduct virtual interviews with our top candidates in early August. 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 mid-August 2020.