JSK expands Community Impact Fellowships for the 2021-22 academic year

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The John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships is expanding our support of journalism that serves local communities of color by offering remote Community Impact Fellowships for the 2021-22 academic year beginning in September. 

Like this year’s inaugural JSK Community Impact Fellows, the 2021-22 fellows will focus on practical solutions to address the U.S. journalism industry’s long-standing neglect of communities of color — a failure exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Each fellow will work to address information needs in their local community while also participating virtually in weekly cohort meetings during which we provide programming to support their work and their growth as leaders. 

The work our fellows do in their communities is vital, urgent and demanding. Our goal is to help them develop the leadership resilience this work requires. Through individual coaching, tailored workshops and peer-to-peer learning, the JSK Fellowships helps fellows identify the tools and mindsets needed to effectively lead and navigate change in times of uncertainty. 

When the pandemic forced the suspension of all on-campus activities last spring, rather than move our usual residential fellowship online, JSK leaders decided to create the new fellowship model focused on the most urgent needs of these times.  JSK Director Dawn Garcia said the decision to continue the remote Community Impact Fellowships for a second year was driven primarily by the progress the current fellows have made in their efforts to address information needs in their local communities of color. 

“The first JSK Community Impact Fellows, whose members bring deep community experience and empathy to their work, are making a difference,” said Garcia. “With their innovative journalism and information initiatives, they are providing an essential service to people in cities and towns across the United States who are too often overlooked.” 

Stanford is now in the early stages of reopening campus to a limited number of students, but it remains closed to most activities and programs like ours. 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 the 2021-22 Community Impact Fellows  together on campus for a few days sometime in the second half of the program.

Garcia said JSK expects to resume residential fellowships for U.S. and international journalists in the fall of 2022.

Important dates: We will open the JSK Community Impact Fellowships application portal May 6 and the deadline for submissions is May 27 at noon PDT. We will publish a preview of the application questions on the JSK website in mid-April.

We expect to offer fellowships in late July. The 2021-22 program begins Sept. 7 and ends June 3. 

We will select up to 12 Community Impact Fellows for the 2021-22 program. Applicants must be authorized to work in the United States. 

These are not reporting fellowships, though the project deliverables may include articles, essays, data visualizations, photojournalism, or other content or technology. Your work product remains yours alone, although any code or other work must be open source.

In designing and running this remote program, we are guided by the JSK Fellowships’ mission to support diverse journalists who are creating solutions to journalism’s most urgent problems. In all that we do, we seek to help our fellows succeed as change agents who improve the access to information people need to create and sustain democratic communities. 

The opportunity is open to journalists with legacy and digital-native news organizations, independent journalists, as well as others who are already working on local projects to serve news or information needs of communities of color. 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. Independent journalists should explain in their application how your project has local buy-in and will have community impact.

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

  • Weekly virtual meetings with members of your cohort to share progress, brainstorm and build collaborations.
  • Biweekly one-on-one virtual meetings with a fellowship adviser, a member of the JSK leadership team.
  • Connection to the vast JSK alumni network.
  • Digital access to Stanford’s libraries and other resources.
  • 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.

Follow @JSKstanford on Twitter for the latest. Please read our Become a fellow and FAQ for more information. Please email Mary Beth Boch, our selection and resources administrator, with questions at jskfellowships@stanford.edu. We look forward to meeting you virtually!