John S. Knight Fellowships awards $123,000 to five coronavirus journalism projects

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Today the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University awarded $123,000 in funding to five projects led by JSK Fellows and alumni to help provide communities with better news and information on the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. 

The initiative is being funded with existing support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The projects will improve access to public records on the coronavirus pandemic; use visual journalism to reach and inform underserved communities; create a clearinghouse for verified coronavirus information for media and the public in the Bay Area; use public radio and social networks to help Bay Area immigrant communities receive better coronavirus news and information; and support a global creative community that is heeding the call to #stayathome.  

 “The world as we know it dramatically shifted in just a few short weeks, and journalism rose to the challenge to serve the public in better ways,” said Dawn Garcia, director of the JSK Fellowships. “Our current fellows, alumni and affiliates are showing initiative to help close information gaps and help our communities persevere in this time of crisis. We’re delighted to champion their work and their resilience.”

The JSK Fellowships issued a $100,000 challenge to the JSK Class of 2020, which is currently in its last quarter at Stanford University, and its alumni community in late March. Members responded with 22 proposals requesting $765,000. JSK selected five projects and will provide them with $123,000 in grants.

The projects funded by the JSK Journalism Challenge on COVID-19 are:

COVID-19 Public Records Project; submitted by Matt Kiefer for the team; $45,000. A collaborative effort to respond to community information needs and monitor human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery in Detroit, Milwaukee, and other cities around the United States. The project will employ freelancers and collect critical public records at the local level. Kiefer, a 2020 JSK Fellow, is partnering with Garance Burke, 2020 JSK Fellow; Sarah Alvarez, founder of Outlier Media and 2016 JSK Fellow; and Michael Morisy, founder of Muckrock Foundation and 2015 JSK Fellow.

Using visuals to fight an infodemic; submitted by Elodie Mailliet Storm for the team; $30,000. This collaboration leverages the power of visual journalism to reach and inform underserved communities in their forums—online using viral tactics and offline using public displays. Mailliet Storm, a 2017 JSK Fellow and CEO of CatchLight, is partnering with Pamela Chen, 2020 JSK Fellow; Peter DiCampo, co-founder of The Everyday Projects and 2019 JSK Fellow; Benjamin Petit, co-director of Dysturb and 2019 JSK Fellow; Pierre Terdjman, co-director of Dysturb; and Dr. Jenell Stewart, an infectious disease and public health specialist and a 2019 JSK affiliate.

COVID-19 Information Hub; submitted by Katherine Ann Rowlands for the team; $22,000. Creating a channel to distribute nonprofit news and a clearinghouse for verified public information for the Bay Area. Rowlands, a 2017 JSK Fellow, owner of Bay City News and founder of Bay City News Foundation, is partnering with Natalia Mazotte, 2020 JSK Fellow; Krista Almanzan, 2020 JSK Fellow; and Heather Bryant, founder of Project Facet and 2017 JSK Fellow. 

Community Reporting Immigrant Service Project (CRISP); submitted by Aaron Foley for the team; $22,000. The team will work with KBBF Radio 89.1 FM (Calistoga, California), local media and WhatsApp networks to ensure Bay Area immigrant communities have access to timely, accurate information on the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. Foley, a 2020 JSK Fellow, is collaborating with Jeremy Hay, 2015 JSK Fellow; Michael Rain, 2020 JSK Fellow; and Alicia Sanchez, president of KBBF. 

Isolated Magazine; submitted by Andrew Losowsky, 2014 JSK Fellow; $4,000. A global, not-for-profit creative community and an online magazine, for and by people who keep their distance. For as long as this lasts.

About the John S. Knight (JSK) Journalism Fellowships

The John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships supports diverse journalists from around the world who are creating solutions to journalism’s most urgent problems. JSK focuses on helping these journalism leaders succeed as effective change agents, improving the access to information people need to create and sustain democratic communities, while challenging misinformation and disinformation; holding the powerful accountable; strengthening local news; and fighting bias, intolerance and injustice. For more, visit