Stanford’s Knight Fellowships program gets $1.8 million boost

Photo of Knight Fellows writing onPost-it notes
John s. Knight Fellows participate in a brainstorming exercise. (Photo: Samaruddin Stewart)

The John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University will be better prepared to spread its impact thanks to $1.8 million in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The Knight Fellowships each year bring 20 domestic and international journalists and journalism entrepreneurs to Stanford for 10 months. During that time they focus on journalism innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership as each fellow works to meet a specific journalism challenge. The program’s goal is to develop leaders with transformative ideas and innovative approaches they can use as they move forward in their journalism careers.

“We want our fellows to be effective innovators for years to come and to embed what they have learned in news outlets old and new,” said JIM BETTINGER, Knight Fellowships director. “This support from the Knight Foundation will enable us to take strong steps toward this goal. Since 2009, the program has focused strongly on innovating for journalism’s future. We are now also thinking about how we can help journalism’s present.”

The three-year funding will be used to develop an “evolving, living technology curriculum for journalists” that can be shared widely with the field; hire a new staff person to work with current and past fellows to help them build on the innovative ideas they examined during their fellowship year, and explore ways that they can create organizational change within newsrooms and other workplaces; hold an annual networking and mentoring workshop aimed at helping former fellows develop their next ventures; and establish a workshop at Stanford for a small group of high-level editors to learn alongside fellows and introduce them to new innovations and thinking.

A portion of the funding will also go toward increasing the Knight endowment by $750,000, to be matched by $750,000 from the fellowship program.

In 2009, the fellowship program shifted its focus to emphasize journalism innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership, with the help of strategic planning support from Knight Foundation. As a result, fellows are now required to work on a journalism challenge during their year at Stanford and develop the skills to be innovative, entrepreneurial leaders.

“Ensuring that fellowship training translates into real-world results is important to advancing the field of journalism and making sure that good ideas spread,” said Marie Gilot, Knight Foundation journalism program officer. “These new initiatives will allow the program to evolve and grow in response to the pace of innovation.”

Read the full announcement on the Knight Foundation website.